Artificial Light at Night Promotes Activity Throughout the Night in Nesting Common Swifts (Apus apus).Sci Rep. 2019 07 30; 9(1):11052.SR
The use of artificial light at night (ALAN) is a rapidly expanding anthropogenic effect that transforms nightscapes throughout the world, causing light pollution that affects ecosystems in a myriad of ways. One of these is changing or shifting activity rhythms, largely synchronized by light cues. We used acoustic loggers to record and quantify activity patterns during the night of a diurnal bird - the common swift - in a nesting colony exposed to extremely intensive artificial illumination throughout the night at Jerusalem's Western Wall. We compared that to activity patterns at three other colonies exposed to none, medium, or medium-high ALAN. We found that in the lower-intensity ALAN colonies swifts ceased activity around sunset, later the more intense the lighting. At the Western Wall, however, swifts remained active throughout the night. This may have important implications for the birds' physiology, breeding cycle, and fitness, and may have cascading effects on their ecosystems.