POSTED: 1:30 a.m. HST, Jul 23, 2011
High school students on Kauai will be playing football in the daytime again this fall to make sure their stadium lights don't harm threatened and endangered seabirds.
The Kauai Interscholastic Federation said Wednesday that teams would play night games until the fledging season begins and young seabirds begin leaving their nests to head out to sea on Sept. 15.
Four early evening games will be played when the moon is expected to be bright, and not when fledging activity will be at its peak.
The teams must avoid night games because the stadium lights confuse and distract seabirds following the moon and stars while migrating to the ocean.
The seabirds are hatched in nests on the ground in the island's mountain forests, and they take their first flight a few months later. The fledglings were found to be mistaking lights that emanate from sports fields, hotels, parking lots and other places for the moon and stars. After becoming lost they eventually dropped to the ground, where they were vulnerable and often attacked by cats or hit by cars.
Kauai teams follow the schedule to keep the county in compliance with federal laws protecting the endangered and threatened seabirds.