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Big cities’ bright lights lure migrating birds

Cara J

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As birds head south for their fall migration, bright city lights are luring them into busy cities, according to recent research. While smaller-scale studies and anecdotes have shown that birds seem drawn to artificial light sources, especially when there’s poor visibility, researchers wanted to know if it happens on a larger scale, too. “There have been anecdotal stories of birds falling out of the sky near lighthouses under foggy conditions or into football stadiums,” said Jeff Buler, an associate professor of wildlife ecology at the University of Delaware and a member of The Wildlife Society, who led the study published in Ecology Letters. “We questioned whether this behavior scales up to the sky glow of cities for migrating birds.” Buler and his colleagues used weather radar to map distributions of migratory birds across the northeastern United States during their fall stopovers. The team used the radar to take nightly snapshots of bird densities near the ground as they departed. These synchronized flights show up as a “bloom of activity” on the radar, Buler said. They compared bird stopover densities with the distance from bright areas where the Milky Way was no longer visible, such as Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore [...]


Read more: http://wildlife.org/big-cities-bright-lights-lure-migrating-birds/

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