The street light has huge significance, since it offers the opportunity to keep tabs on the comings and goings in the neighbourhood during the hours of darkness. Being able to “see” the potential “boogie man” a.k.a. criminal, offers comfort to the home owner, while at the same time serving as a disincentive to attack the house.
But spare a thought for the other residents of your home. They don’t get the opportunity to draw the curtains and flip off the light switch – for them the light is always on.
Living in a 24 / 7 world is tough
Researchers have discovered that 24 / 7 living is not only rough on humans but street light living is tough on birds, disrupting their breeding behaviour.
Birds living under lights start early
Male birds living under the lights, typically feel compelled to get up an hour or two before anyone else. The early rising is marked by frantic “calling” to attract a mate.
Female birds are impressed by the early risers, believing them to be the type of guy who will produce fabulous babies, so without checking their genetic credentials, they readily “hook up”. The male is rated as a superstar stud by the gals, so he often manages to get it on with more than one lady – sowing his mediocre oats (sorry genes) into the population.
The practice may be good for the lucky fellow at the time, but in the long run is probably not too good for the species and pretty exhausting for the individual concerned, since he is up long before dawn and “working” hard.
The breeding season also starts earlier
The bird family that sets up home under the lights, tend to lay eggs earlier. Since the early bird catches the worm, this might not be a huge negative, provided of course, it is not out of the normal breeding season. Mother nature typically sends babies around the time when food is at its most plentiful so babies that are too early might starve.
Of course, permanent day time in the nest, is likely to mean the parents don’t get too much sleep as their demanding little ones will never quieten down.
When we think pollution, we are typically worrying about unwanted chemicals popping up in “the wrong” place. But pollution comes packaged in other formats, which can be equally disruptive to the well being of ecosystems and health.
Bet you never considered the ecological impact of that street light. Pulling it down or switching it off is probably not an option. So spare a thought for the other residents living under the light as it flicks on tonight. Several light mesmerized moths will commit suicide by plunging head long into the light tonight and the laughing dove family, living in the big tree outside the front door, probably aren’t sleeping as peacefully as you are under that light.
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