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City Lights

Light Hazards

A clear and growing scientific consensus teaches us that artificial lights have a negative impact on migratory birds, and not just from window strikes. During migration seasons (spring and fall) it is recommended we turn off lights as much as possible, respectful of human safety. 


Many species use the moon for navigation, and light pollution from large cities can confuse them, using up valuable time and energy resources, that can have fatal consequences. In large doses, light interference can interrupt photosensitive sex hormones and disrupt breeding and reproduction. 


Even small amounts of artificial light from residential areas have been shown to alter migration behavior. The Audubon Society has determined that “While lights can throw birds off their migration paths, bird fatalities are more directly caused by the amount of energy the birds waste flying around and calling out in confusion. The exhaustion can then leave them vulnerable to other urban threats.”  


Municipalities across Canada, such as Peterborough have been actively investing in light shields to focus artificial light sources towards the ground (where it is needed), and away from the night sky.  These city-wide efforts can work in tandem with homeowners who can take action now to address the issue in their own backyards. 


Is your outdoor lighting bird-friendly, too? 

This evening, take a look around your home and assess where you can improve, reduce, or eliminate outdoor lighting. Join your local Lights Out Program and take the pledge to turn off unnecessary lighting!

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