University Museum of Bergen

Passerine Birds and Street lights

Street lights influence the length of the activity period of passerine birds in winter. A study carried out in Bergen by Ingvar Byrkjedal, Terje Lislevand, and Stefanie Vogler shows a significant nocturnal activity in European Robin, Common Blackbird, Eurasian Wren, and also, to a certain extent, night-time activity in Blue Tits and Great Tits.

The article raises the question whether passerine birds utilise artificial light to prolong their activity periods during winter. Bird registration at night and parts of the day along a fixed route in Bergen showed significant nocturnal activity in the European Robin, the Common Blackbird, and the Eurasian Wren, and also some night-time activity in Great Tits and Blue Tits. Night-active European Robins were found at shorter distances from street lights than what would be expected in a random distribution. The study indicates that some bird species are able to utilise artificial light to prolong the 24-hour cycle of day and night, a fact that can increase their chances of finding food during the dark winters in our northern latitudes.

The full text of the article is available here