Cavities shield birds from effects of artificial light at night on sleep
Light pollution is an ever increasing worldwide problem disrupting animal behavior. Artificial light at night (ALAN) has been shown to affect sleep in wild birds. Even cavity‐nesting bird species may be affected when sleeping inside their cavity. Correlational studies suggest that light from outside the cavity/nest box, for example from street lights, may affect sleep. We used an experimental design to study to what extent nest boxes shield animals from effects of ALAN on sleep. We recorded individual sleep behavior of free‐living great tits (Parus major) that were roosting in dark nest boxes and exposed their nest box entrance to ALAN the following night (1.6 lux white LED light; a similar light intensity as was found at nest boxes near street lights). Their behavior was compared to that of control birds sleeping in dark nest boxes on both nights. Our experimental treatment did not affect sleep behavior. Sleep behavior of birds in the control group did not differ from that of individuals in the light treated group. Our results suggest that during winter cavities shield birds from some effects of ALAN. Furthermore, given that effects of ALAN and exposure to artificial light are species‐, sex‐, and season‐dependent, it is important that studies using wild animals quantify individual exposure to light pollution, and be cautious in the interpretation and generalization of the effects, or lack thereof, from light pollution. Rigorous studies are necessary to examine individual light exposure and its consequences in cavity‐ and open‐nesting birds.
Source (journal)
Journal of experimental zoology: part A : ecological and integrative physiology. - Place of publication unknown, 2017, currens
Place of publication unknown : Wiley Periodicals, Inc. , 2018
2471-5646 [online]
2471-5638 [print]
329 :8-9 (2018) , p. 449-456
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Project info
Short and long term effects of light pollution on the great tit (Parus major) and the effectiveness of mitigating strategies.
Short and long term effects of light pollution on the great tit (Parus major) and the effectiveness of mitigating strategies.
Integrative and experimental study of the effects of artificial light exposure at night during development in birds in the real world: merging mechanistic approaches with short- and long-term health and fitness consequences.
Effects of light pollution on behavioural, life-history and physiological traits in a songbird: an integrative approach.
Publication type
Publications with a UAntwerp address
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Web of Science
Creation 16.10.2018
Last edited 25.05.2022
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