The San Diego Audubon Society is signing up volunteers to help study night time mortality of birds migrating through downtown San Diego. This study is being done as a scientific inquiry on how downtown’s artificial lighting affects and/or harms birds as they make their way north during their annual spring migration.
Many people do not realize that several bird species migrate at night, possibly to avoid predators, to conserve daylight hours to feeding, or to take advantage of less intense winds. Usually smaller birds such as blackbirds, sparrows, vireos, hummingbirds, kinglets, different types of sparrows, and many other songbirds.
Birds navigate at night by using the stars and moonlight, but city lights can be disorienting to birds trying to navigate tall buildings at night, especially after midnight or during storms or fog. They can be confused and attracted to the artificial lights and flap around the window until they get overly tired and exhausted. The problem is compounded in cities near a major body of water along a major flyway such as San Diego. Studies in other cities as well as organizations like FLAP (which stands for Fatal Light Awareness Project) have helped reduce bird fatalities due to light distractions in other cities.
Volunteers will be monitoring areas of downtown between 5AM and 9AM and 9AM to 12PM for the duration of the spring migration season. There will be a training session on Tuesday, April 17th from 5:30-7:30PM at the San Diego Audubon office at 4010 Morena Boulevard, Suite 100. If you would like to attend this training, please call Roxy Carter at email@example.com to sign up or for more information. Volunteers are expected to do a minimum of 10 site visits.
If you run a downtown office building and would like to help without volunteering, here are a few things you can do:
Raise awareness of this issue to your friends and family
Close your blinds or curtains at night. Use bird-friendly lighting fixtures
Turn off non-essential office lights or reduce them to a minimum when office or building isn’t in use.
Reduce flood-lights or shield them until the end of migration season