Birds more likely to collide with buildings lit by blue light – study

Night-migrating birds are at greater risk of colliding with buildings lit up with high levels of blue light at night, research has suggested.

A study published in the journal Conservation Biology collected community science observations of dead birds across the entire island of Singapore, which has a densely populated centre, with more than 100,000 buildings island-wide.

This found that a number of bird species, including pittas (a small, brightly coloured bird common to Asia) and pigeons, were particularly sensitive to blue light pollution, and were strongly attracted to artificial lighting, so increasing their chances of colliding with buildings.

Birds such as green pigeons and emerald doves tended to collide with buildings near the edges of forests, which could be down to the fact these forest-dwelling species often moved through cities as they travelled between increasingly fragmented patches of forest.

The research team from the University of New Mexico (UNM) has argued buildings in future collision hotspots should incorporate collision-mitigation measures such as bird-safe glass into their façades.

They should also work to make glass surfaces more visible to birds and reduce the chance of collisions.

Other glass-shading measures such as mullions and louvres, could also be incorporated into the way buildings are clad in high-risk zones near forests, the scientists said.

“Our results also show how forest-edge buildings, especially short buildings under 20 metres in height, should be areas of high priority for deploying anti-collision measures,” said UNM scientist David Tan, one of the co-authors of the study.

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