Wide awake: Light pollution keeps magpies and pigeons tossing and turning

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Researchers are urging city-dwellers to switch off their garden lights at night-time after a study of magpies and pigeons revealed the harmful impact artificial light is having on the birds’ sleep patterns.

The study by La Trobe University and University of Melbourne, published today in Current Biology, is the first to measure neurological responses to light pollution in wildlife.

The researchers looked at how birds’ sleep was affected by artificial white light and the apparently more ‘sleep-friendly’ amber light.

They found light comparable in intensity to street lighting can disrupt the length, structure and intensity of sleep in magpies and pigeons, regardless of the light’s color.

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