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Open AccessArticle

Artificial Light at Night is Related to Broad-Scale Stopover Distributions of Nocturnally Migrating Landbirds along the Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico

1
Department of Entomology and Wildlife Ecology, University of Delaware, Newark, DE 19713, USA
2
Migratory Bird Center, Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, National Zoological Park, Washington, DC 20013, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Current affiliation: Appalachian Laboratory, University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, Frostburg, MD 21532, USA.
Remote Sens. 2020, 12(3), 395; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs12030395
Received: 1 December 2019 / Revised: 22 January 2020 / Accepted: 24 January 2020 / Published: 26 January 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Radar Aeroecology)
The distributions of birds during migratory stopovers are influenced by a hierarchy of factors. For example, in temperate regions, migrants are concentrated near areas of bright artificial light at night (ALAN) and also the coastlines of large water bodies at broad spatial scales. However, less is known about what drives broad-scale stopover distributions in the tropics. We quantified seasonal densities of nocturnally migrating landbirds during spring and fall of 2011–2015, using two weather radars on the Yucatan peninsula, Mexico (Sabancuy and Cancun). We tested the influence of environmental predictors in explaining broad-scale bird stopover densities. We predicted higher densities in areas (1) closer to the coast in the fall and farther away in spring and (2) closer to bright ALAN and with lower ALAN intensity in both seasons. We found that birds were more concentrated near the coastline in the fall and away from it in spring around Cancun but not Sabancuy. Counter to our expectations, we detected increased bird densities with increased distance from lights in spring around Sabancuy, and in both seasons around Cancun, suggesting avoidance of bright areas during those seasons. This is the first evidence of broad-scale bird avoidance of bright areas during stopover. View Full-Text
Keywords: aeroecology; artificial light at night; stopover distribution; bird migration; Gulf of Mexico; light pollution; weather radar aeroecology; artificial light at night; stopover distribution; bird migration; Gulf of Mexico; light pollution; weather radar
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MDPI and ACS Style

Cabrera-Cruz, S.A.; Cohen, E.B.; Smolinsky, J.A.; Buler, J.J. Artificial Light at Night is Related to Broad-Scale Stopover Distributions of Nocturnally Migrating Landbirds along the Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico. Remote Sens. 2020, 12, 395.

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