Studies testing the effect of artificial light characteristics on attractiveness to seabirds have not provided conclusive results and there is some urgency as some endangered petrel species experience high light-induced mortality. We designed a field experiment to test the effect of three common outdoor lighting systems with different light spectra (high pressure sodium, metal halide and white light emitting diode) on the number and the body condition of grounded fledglings of the short-tailed shearwater Ardenna tenuirostris. A total of 235 birds was grounded during 99 experimental hours. 47% of birds was grounded when metal halide lights were on, while light emitting diode and high pressure sodium lights showed lower percentages of attraction (29% and 24%). No differences in body condition were detected among the birds grounded by the different lighting systems. We recommend the adoption of high pressure sodium lights (or with similar spectra) into petrel-friendly lighting designs together with other light mitigation measures such as light attenuation, lateral shielding to reduce spill and appropriate orientation.
Rodríguez A, Dann P, Chiaradia A (2017) Reducing light-induced mortality of seabirds: high pressure sodium lights decrease the fatal attraction of shearwaters. Journal for Nature Conservation 39: 68-72.
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