Artificial lighting can harm wild creatures by disorientating them, but for some — such as the common redshank, a migratory shorebird — it can help.
Ross Dwyer at the University of Exeter in Penryn, UK, and his colleagues studied the bird (Tringa totanus; pictured) in an estuary near industrial sites in eastern Scotland. The researchers tagged the redshanks with posture-sensitive radio transmitters, making it possible to measure how much time the birds spent with their heads down — sweeping through mud or sand to search for food — and up, stalking prey visually. The authors found that redshanks near artificial light spent more time visually stalking — which is more efficient than searching by touch — than those in darker areas, suggesting that the light improves the animal's foraging opportunities.
J. Anim. Ecol. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1365-2656.12012 (2012)
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Night light helps shorebird. Nature 492, 11 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1038/492011d