This, from the "environmental group" that granted "Eagle Status" to giant donor First Wind, the number one wind developer in the state and likely public enemy number one to, err, eagles.
“As we continue to see suburban sprawl reaching into historically dark areas, we should expect to see lower productivity and higher mortality in many of our native species,” said Doug Hitchcox, staff naturalist at Maine Audubon.
Hitchcox and his colleague, Maine Audubon conservation biologist Sarah Haggerty, specified some of the effects:
• Some animals mistake artificial lights for moonlight.
• Some are disoriented by artificial lights.
• Man-made lights automatically favor diurnal species, and can lead to conflicts between them and their nocturnal counterparts.
• The problem of predation also disproportionately hurts nocturnal species, which have evolved to hide. Exposed to lights, they are more likely to get eaten.
• When man-made light extends the day into night, nocturnal mammals – among them beavers, bats and most rodents – have less time (and surface area) to scavenge for food.
• “Many mammals will catch food and then carry it to a dark, safe place before eating, so light pollution will cause them to spend more time seeking out these safe areas,” Hitchcox said.
Solar-powered walkway lights soak up sunlight during the day. Quality StockArt/Shutterstock.com
Haggerty spelled out the problems for several particular creatures. The clam worm spawns in the light of the full moon, she said. But in shorelit areas (such as much of developed coastal Maine), man-made lights block out the moon, impeding the clams’ timing. Several amphibian species rely on the secretion of melatonin in their metamorphoses from tadpole to adult; the increase of artificial light may slow their development. And perhaps most familiar to the layperson – the moth. A moth flitting around a light is a moth that is not doing its job, Haggerty said. And because moths comprise a large chunk of pollinating insects, when lights disrupt their pollination tasks, the whole ecosystem suffers.
Airborne creatures such as moths, fireflies and birds bear the brunt of the impact of man-made lights, said Hitchcox, who specializes in ornithology. Nine-hundred million birds die each year over the United States during migrations, he said. Most of the deaths occur among songbirds, such as warblers. These smaller birds like to travel at night in order to avoid large predators, such as hawks, eagles and falcons, which migrate during the day. And while Maine-specific migratory bird studies are rare, Hitchcox says artificial light carries some of the blame.
He’s collected some of his own anecdotal evidence: On Portland’s West End, where he lives, Hitchcox has noticed an uptick of birds that swoop into lower altitudes during fall migration on the nights that Hadlock Field turns on its stadium lights. The lights may be attracting them, or disorienting them – scientists aren’t sure. In either case, it’s bad news for the birds, as these migrating birds are safer at higher altitudes, where they are less likely to collide with tall buildings.
“The tough thing is that no one really cares about this because no one knows it’s happening,” he said. “My goal is to get at least a baseline to show people that, ‘Hey, there are thousands of birds flying overhead at night. Could you please turn those lights off a little earlier?’ ”
Continue reading the article here: https://www.pressherald.com/2018/08/05/lights-out/
Meanwhile, here's a new movie about dark skies called "Stars over Katahdin". I look forward to seeing the film. I wonder whether the film maker is aware of the various wind projects right to the east of Katahdin, Baxter and the KW & W national monument that have been on the wind developers' drawing boards for years. Are the proponents of the national monument cognizant of the fact that the monument host communities for which they lobbied (Sherman, Stacyville, Patten, Mount Chase, etc.) are in the wind developers' target sights? (To say nothing of other area communities such as Molunkus, Benedicta and Island Falls, the latter already plagued by "neighbor" Oakfield's wind turbines)
Filmmaker Sriram Murali addresses the question in his new movie, which will be shown at 'Stars over Katahdin.'
Turbine lights on Rocky Dundee seen from Upper Pond (Rainer Egle)
Yet another reason not to have flashing thunderous wind turbines…
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