Action

Action Synopsis: Bird Conservation About Actions

Use flashing lights to reduce mortality from artificial lights

How is the evidence assessed?
  • Effectiveness
    54%
  • Certainty
    15%
  • Harms
    0%

Source countries

Key messages

A randomised, replicated and controlled trial from the USA found that fewer dead birds were found beneath control towers that used only flashing lights, as opposed to those using both flashing and continuous lights.

 

About key messages

Key messages provide a descriptive index to studies we have found that test this intervention.

Studies are not directly comparable or of equal value. When making decisions based on this evidence, you should consider factors such as study size, study design, reported metrics and relevance of the study to your situation, rather than simply counting the number of studies that support a particular interpretation.

Supporting evidence from individual studies

  1. A randomised, replicated and controlled trial on 24 control towers in Michigan, USA, during May and September 2005 (Gehring et al. 2009) found that there were significantly fewer bird carcasses found beneath towers lit with red or white flashing lights, compared with control towers using the Federal Aviation Administration standard of red flashing lights combined with non-flashing red lights (average mortality of 3.7 birds/tower for experimental towers vs. 13 birds/tower for controls). There were no differences between three different flashing-light treatments. Three tall (> 305 m) towers with non-flashing lights caused significantly more fatalities than any of the smaller towers. The majority of birds killed were night-migrating songbirds but also included gamebirds and woodpeckers.

     

    Study and other actions tested
Please cite as:

Williams, D.R., Child, M.F., Dicks, L.V., Ockendon, N., Pople, R.G., Showler, D.A., Walsh, J.C., zu Ermgassen, E.K.H.J. & Sutherland, W.J. (2019) Bird Conservation. Pages 141-290 in: W.J. Sutherland, L.V. Dicks, N. Ockendon, S.O. Petrovan & R.K. Smith (eds) What Works in Conservation 2019. Open Book Publishers, Cambridge, UK.

 

Where has this evidence come from?

List of journals searched by synopsis

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Bird Conservation

This Action forms part of the Action Synopsis:

Bird Conservation

What Works in Conservation

What Works in Conservation provides expert assessments of the effectiveness of actions, based on summarised evidence, in synopses. Subjects covered so far include amphibians, birds, terrestrial mammals, forests, peatland and control of freshwater invasive species. More are in progress.

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