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Light pollution at night affects the calls of migratory birds

When investigators in the UK recorded the calls of migratory birds called thrushes at night, they found that call rates were up to five times higher over the brightest urban areas compared with darker villages.

The findings, which are published in Ibis, provide support to previous and ongoing research indicating that artificial light at night affects migratory birds.

“We harnessed the respective strengths of citizen science, passive acoustic monitoring, and machine learning to gather evidence of the impact of artificial light at night on migratory birds,” said corresponding author Simon Gillings, PhD, of The British Trust for Ornithology. “Finding that even modest urban areas without high-rise buildings can influence migration highlights the need for improved management of urban lighting.”

Link to the study: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/ibi.12955

Header image: When investigators in the UK recorded the calls of migratory birds called thrushes at night, they found that call rates were up to five times higher over the brightest urban areas compared with darker villages. Credit: Tim Jones.