Prompted by a coalition of conservation and business groups, federal aviation officials determined that it is safe to turn off steady tower lights. Flashing safety lights, which are standard equipment on antennas, are just as visible to pilots and don’t endanger birds, FAA technical experts reported last month.
In a test of the new lighting in Michigan, bird deaths dropped by more than half during 20 days of peak songbird migration, researchers at Central Michigan University and the federal wildlife service reported in 2009 in the journal Ecological Applications.”The beautiful thing about this is you turn off these steadily burning red lights and within minutes the birds leave,” said avian ecologist Joelle Gehring at Michigan State University. “It is an immediate effect.”
Up to 15 billion birds are estimated to be in North America in the spring and up to 30 billion in the fall.