Monday 10 October 2022

“Turn out the lights for birds during the night” is the slogan of World Migratory Bird Day 2022. The aim of the campaign is to highlight the negative effects of artificial lights at night on migratory birds. To support this WMBD campaign, the Wadden Sea Flyway Initiative and the Trilateral Dark Sky Initiative have produced a short animation.

Artificial Light at Night (ALAN) can have a major negative impact on nocturnal migratory birds. Artificial light appears to disrupt the internal system birds use to navigate at night and causes them to deviate from their normal migration routes. It has been reported that birds sometimes circle for hours or even collide with illuminated structures, often resulting in death. For birds migrating through the Wadden Sea, brightly lit sites along the coastline and infrastructure, such as lighthouses or oil platforms in the North Sea, as well as fishing boats, can pose a threat.

Not only detrimental to birds

Light pollution can also have adverse effects on many other species such as insects, bats or plants. Behavioural and physiological changes, an increased risk of predation or habitat loss due to ALAN, inhibit natural processes with negative consequences for reproduction or survival which may ultimately lead to a population decline.

But we can do something about it!

Studies show that artificial light at night is increasing by at least 2% per year worldwide. Fortunately, there are already many solutions to combat light pollution and there are numerous initiatives to raise awareness on this issue, also in the Wadden area.

More information on the effects of ALAN on the Wadden Sea ecosystem can be found here.

More information

ir. S. (Sonja) van der Graaf, Tel: +31 (0)6 11 48 71 20. E-mail: sonja.vandergraaf@rvo.nl