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Seabirds disoriented by night lights, DLNR says

The state Department of Land and Natural Resources reminds Hawaii residents to turn off unnecessary night lights from now until December, when many young seabirds take maiden flights from their burrows out to sea.

Native Hawaiian seabirds become disoriented by artificial lights, which they mistake for moonlight to guide them out to sea, according to DLNR . Between September and December, individual young birds will circle these lights until they eventually fall to the ground from exhaustion — an occurrence referred to as “fallout.”

“When grounded, these birds are at risk of predation by cats, mongoose and other predators, vehicle collisions, and starvation,” DLNR said in a press release. “Fallout birds are often seen landing or sitting on roadways, parking lots and lawns.”

DLNR’s Division of Forestry and Wildlife is urging communities to watch out for and help with the rescue of these young seabirds with the following tips:

>> Turn all outdoor lights so they are facing down to the ground and use downward lighting for signs.

>> Turn off decorative and unnecessary lights as much as possible.

>> Replace bare spotlights, floodlights and unshielded lights with seabird friendly lighting styles (including shielding the lights to prevent them from facing upwards and using non-white or lower wattage lamps).

>> Place floodlights and security lights on motion detectors so that they are not on all the time.

>> Close curtains at night to help reduce overall glow and glare.

>> Keep dogs and cats indoors so that they are not able to attack and kill grounded birds outside.

More information, including what to do with a downed seabird, is available on DLNR’s website.

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