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Are Christmas lights bad for birds?

December 21, 2017 — 

UM Today asked Nicola Koper, a bird researcher in the U of M’s Natural Resources Institute this question. She said: 

We do worry about light pollution and its impact on birds, which can fly way off course near some cities. Lights can also disrupt animals that hunt at night, like owls and bats, perhaps because lights make it easier for prey to escape. However, in general, I think the addition of Christmas lights to urban environments result in pretty minimal additional disturbance. To make sure you’re having as little an impact as possible, use relatively dim LED lights, rather than big flood lights. Research on cell towers shows that red lights have less of an impact on birds than white lights, so that suggests that coloured Christmas lights might be better than white lights.

 

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