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Rodríguez, A., Moffett, J., Revoltós, A., Wasiak, P., McIntosh, R. R., Sutherland, D. R., et al. (2017). Light pollution and seabird fledglings: Targeting efforts in rescue programs: Assessing Condition Of Rescued Seabirds. Jour. Wild. Mgmt., 81(4), 734–741.
Abstract: One of the most critical phases in the life of petrels (Procellariiformes) is at fledging whenyoung birds pass from parental dependence on land to an independent life at sea. To mitigate mortality at thistime, rescue programs are implemented near breeding sites around the world, especially for birds grounded byartificial lights. We evaluated the plumage and body condition of short-tailed shearwater (Ardennatenuirostris) fledglings captured at colonies just before departure in comparison to fledglings washed up onbeaches and to fledglings attracted by artificial light along roads. We measured abundance of down, bodymass, and body condition index as the standardized residuals of a regression of body mass on size, andemployed linear models to test differences on body mass and body condition between locations. Beach-washed birds were underweight and in poor condition, suggesting their future survival probabilities at seawere low. Birds rescued on roads as a consequence of light attraction had lower body weights and conditionindices than fledglings captured at the colony. However, more than 50% of light-attracted birds had attainedsimilar weights to those of adults, suggesting they have higher probabilities of survival than beach-washedbirds. Water-logged birds being washed onto beaches is a natural process, but birds grounded by lightingalong roads is an increasing anthropogenic threat that requires management. Thus, management andconservation efforts should be directed to protect birds in the colonies and reduce light-induced mortality,ideally through the strategic reduction of light sources and lateral light spillage. When resources forconservation are limited, rescue programs should focus on rescuing birds from roads rather than beach-washed birds, which have a lower probability of survival.