The number of birds killed by crashing into communication towers could be reduced by about 50–70% by simply changing the towers' lighting systems, researchers say.
Millions of night-migrating songbirds collide with these towers each year. Joelle Gehring of Michigan State University in Lansing and her colleagues counted bird carcasses below 21 similar-sized towers in Michigan during two 20-day migration periods in 2005.
Towers with only flashing lights had a mean of 3.7 bird kills per season, whereas towers with both flashing and steadily burning lights had a mean of 13.
As the steady light may attract birds, the team suggests that tower operators turn off those lights or reprogram them to flash.