Article

Experiment to test the influence of apron lights

Photo below: Christa D’Alton collecting insects at a light trap at Eros

To determine the effect of apron lights on the risk of collisions with insectivorous birds an experiment to determine the effect of light as an attraction to insects at airports is underway. 180 light trap stations with different coloured lights (yellow, orange, white and no light) were set up at Eros and Hosea Kutako airports, The traps collected insects over a 6 day period in April. Data analysis is underway to determine how many, and what variety of insects are attracted to the different light sources. Preliminary results indicate the following:

- White light attracted more, and larger insects than yellow, while orange light attracted the fewest;
- All light attracted far more insects at Hosea Kutako than at Eros. This tentatively indicates that phototaxis (light attractiveness) is more of an issue at Hosea Kutako than Eros, and hence at airports in rural locations as there is less light pollution. It further seems to indicate that orange or yellow filters on apron lights will reduce
the effect, and possibly result in a reduced risk of bird strikes at Hosea Kutako.

The study will be completed by the end of the year, after the results are rigorously tested, when recommendations regarding the filtering of lights at the airports may be made.

Category: