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Turn off the lights for Tawnies?

Posted: Thu Jan 10, 2019 4:03 pm
by brian livesey
The British Trust for Ornithology is running a Tawny Owl survey and has placed the bird on the amber list. Tawnies are disappearing from towns and cities, and it's a mystery as to why. Has the Trust considered the effects of light pollution on this beautiful night hunter?
It isn't only skywatchers who are having the night stolen from us by light polluters. The Tawny might be a victim of light pollution in its search for food. The huge eyes of the Tawny make it adept at catching night-time prey, but success is only assured in the darkest of conditions, otherwise, the swooping bird can be easier spotted by the rodents it feeds on.
There are still Tawnies at this site in the evenings, greeting the Moon from tree-top branches, but it's possible that their numbers may have fallen here due to indiscriminate outdoor lighting.

Re: Turn off the lights for Tawnies?

Posted: Thu Jan 10, 2019 7:03 pm
by mike a feist
A few, possibly many, years ago it was not uncommon to hear tawny owls calling when observing out of the window from Mile Oak but I have not heard one for ages. (I even once saw one roosting in a tree it what is now the garden of Emmaus in Portslade.) But I have not done so for ages. Lack of suitable nest sites perhaps or as you said too much light disturbance. Lost of darkness, too much development, persistent never-ending traffic, noise and general human-centred activity at all hours : it all works against skywatching and naturewstching and of course the night creatures themselves. Regards maf.

Re: Turn off the lights for Tawnies?

Posted: Thu Jan 17, 2019 3:44 pm
by brian livesey
I've sent an email to the British Trust for Ornithology about the possibility of light pollution being a contributing factor in the decline of tawny owl sightings in urban and suburban locations.
The Trust replied by saying that it was considering if, in their survey, light pollution is suspect before I emailed them.