Light pollution and its impact was the main theme of World Migratory Birds Day 2022A United Nations (UN) sponsored global campaign this Saturday aimed at raising awareness among the population about these birds and the need for international cooperation to protect them. Events are organized all over the world under the motto of ‘Commemoration of the Day’.Dim the lights for the birds at night‘.
UN warns Light pollution is increasing around the world. Some scientific research more than 80% of the world’s population lives under a “bright sky”, the figure approaches 99% in Europe and North America. With an intensification: The amount of artificial light on the Earth’s surface is increasing by at least 2% each year and could be much higher in the short term.
“Natural darkness has protection value just like clean water, air and soil.”, says Amy Fraenkel, executive secretary of the Convention on Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS).
“The main purpose of 2022 World Migratory Birds Day is to raise awareness about the problem of light pollution and its negative effects on migratory birds. solutions are available and we hope to encourage key decision makers to take action to tackle light pollution,” adds Fraenkel.
All experts agree that light pollution is a major and growing threat to wildlifeincluding many migratory bird species. “Light pollution kills millions of birds every year” emphasizes the UN.
Disorientation and deadly collisions
The effects of light pollution include changing natural light and dark patterns in ecosystems and can change bird migration patternsforaging behaviors and vocal communication.
“At night, especially when there are low clouds, fog, rain or when flying at lower altitudes, it is affected by artificial light, migratory birds are disoriented and can be worn in lighted areas. Their depleted energy reserves put them at risk of exhaustion, looting, and deadly collisions with buildings.
“Many night-active birds are experiencing the effects of light pollution. Many nocturnal migratory birds, such as ducks, geese, rain beetles, shorebirds, and songbirds, are affected by light pollution, which causes disorientation and deadly collisions.Says Jacques Trouvilliez, secretary-general of the African-Eurasian Waterfowl Agreement (AEWA).
“Seabirds like petrels and shearwaters are attracted to artificial lights on land and become prey for rats and cats,” he adds.
The UN highlighted several solutions and proposals to reduce light pollution. The Light Pollution Guidelines covering sea turtles, seabirds and migratory shorebirds were approved by CMS members in 2020. Its recommendations include six principles of lighting best practices. Moreover call for environmental impact assessments for related projects that may cause light pollution.
According to the UN, environmental assessments should consider the main sources of light pollution, possible wildlife species that may be affected, and data on proximity to key habitats and migration routes.
The importance of the dark sky
CMS is currently a new guidelines focusing on migratory blackbirds and bats. They will be submitted to members of the collective for adoption at the 14th meeting of the CMS Conference of the Parties in 2023.
However, the United Nations stressed that: Many governments, municipalities, companies and communities around the world are already taking action address the light pollution program.
He notes that in some cities, particularly in North America, initiatives such as “Lights Out” programs and “bird-friendly” building guidelines aim to protect migratory birds from light pollution. encourage building owners and managers to turn off unnecessary lighting during transition periods.
“World Migratory Bird Day is a call to action for the protection of international migratory birds,” says Susan Bonfield, Environmental Director for the Americas at CMS. raising awareness of the threat of light pollution and the importance of dark skies for bird migrationsBonfield finishes.
Light pollution also affects Spain. In a study led by astrophysicist Alejandro Sánchez de Miguel, He found that between 1992 and 2017 artificial light emissions and light pollution in Spain increased by up to 300%.. The effect is particularly serious in nocturnal animals, as they depend on darkness for survival.
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