Authors: Frank A. La Sorte, and Kyle G. Horton
Publication: Environmental Pollution
Keywords: Artificial light at night, eBird, Full annual cycle, Nocturnal bird migration, Tree canopy cover, Urbanization
Abstract: Urban areas often contain large numbers of migratory bird species during seasonal migration, many of which are nocturnal migrants. How artificial light at night (ALAN) and urban land cover are associated with the diurnal occurrence of nocturnal migrants within urban areas across seasons has not been explored. Here, we use eBird bird occurrence information to estimate the seasonal species richness of nocturnally migrating passerines (NMP) within 333 well surveyed urban areas within the contiguous USA. We model the relationship between seasonal NMP species richness and ALAN, proportion of tree canopy cover, and proportion of impervious surface. NMP species richness reached its highest levels during spring and autumn migration and lowest during the winter and summer. Greater tree canopy cover was associated with higher NMP species richness during spring and autumn migration and the summer. A 10% increase in the proportion of tree canopy cover was associated with a 2.0% increase in NMP species richness during spring migration, a 1.8% increase during autumn migration, and a 0.9%increase during the summer. More impervious surface was associated with higher NMP species richness during the winter. A 10% increase in the proportion of impervious surface was associated with a 6.1e9.8%increase in NMP species richness. Higher ALAN was associated with lower NMP species richness during the winter and summer, and higher NMP species richness during spring and autumn migration. A 50%increase in ALAN was associated with a 3.0e3.6% decrease in NMP species richness during the winter, a1.7% increase during spring migration, a 2.1% decrease during the summer, and a 5.0% increase during autumn migration. These findings highlight the variable effects of ALAN and urban land cover on the seasonal occurrence of NMP species in urban areas, the value of tree canopy cover during migration and the breeding season, and the importance of reducing ALAN during migration.