How Christmas Lights Affect Migrating Birds


Ainsley Olvey

Try to help out migrating birds as best you can during the holiday season.

Ainsley Olvey, Columnist

Lights do affect birds, including Christmas lights. The bright colored lights distract the migrating birds, which severely confuses their path of migration, leaving the migrating birds to suffer without the flock for the cold winter. 

The largest problem is street lights. However, Christmas lights add on to all the brightness and distractions. According to CultureMap, lights throw birds off their migration paths. They get attracted to the bright lights, then fly around, circle aimlessly, cluster up, and call out in confusion. The exhaustion of these birds makes them vulnerable to other urban threats. 

Migrating birds appear to navigate using mental maps of the terrain, the position of the sun, moon and stars, and the earth’s magnetic field, states the Irish Examiner

Here are a few possible solutions to help keep the birds on path:

  • Turn off your lights whenever you’re not using them (this doesn’t mean to take down all Christmas lights)
  • Purchase specialized Christmas lights where the birds eye view of them is dimmer than the frontal view
  • Talk to your local ornithologist 
  • Support funds for helping birds migrate 

Birds must migrate in the winter so they can survive. It is a long and tedious journey for these animals, so help them get to their destination by following some of the suggested ways to keep these animals moving.