Light Pollution in Virginia

Our team has been researching FLAP’s (Fatal Light Awareness Program) initiatives and plans to contact them about what time of year they find the highest amount of dead birds in Toronto. Because our group has been unlucky in our findings so far, we are wondering if birds have not yet migrated through Charlottesville. As it is finally becoming warmer outside, we may start to see more species of birds moving to Charlottesville. We are going to ask FLAP if they have any data about what species of birds fly through the mid-Atlantic region at this time of year.

Additionally, our team came across a Dark Virginia Sky article about Light Pollution’s toll on migratory birds. Below is a satellite image of the highest rates of light pollution in the state of Virginia. We are curious if this map correlates with bird mortality rates in the cities and counties that have the most light pollution. The Dark Virginia Sky article also includes a Washington Post feature about Lights Out’s efforts to decrease the bird death toll in cities such as Baltimore and Washington, DC. The birds most commonly found by Lights Out organizations in the mid-Atlantic region are the white throated sparrow, the common yellowthroat, the ovenbird, and the gray catbird. We plan to attempt to get in contact with the Lights Out organizations in Baltimore and DC to see if their findings match up with Charlottesville’s species of birds with high mortality rates.




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Post by Alison Lanshe, Fourth-Year, Media Studies and American Studies