Ecology: Saving songbirds

    Ecol. Appl. 19, 505–514 (2009)

    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.

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    Ecology: Saving songbirds. Nature 458, 553 (2009).

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