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Artificial light may have severe ecological consequences but there is limited experimental work to assess these consequences. We carried out an experimental study on a wild population of great tits (Parus major) to assess the impact of light pollution on daily activity patterns during the chick provisioning period. Pairs that were provided with a small light outside their nest box did not alter the onset, cessation or duration of their working day. There was however a clear effect of artificial light on the feeding rate in the second half of the nestling period: when provided with artificial light females increased their feeding rate when the nestlings were between 9 and 16 days old. Artificial light is hypothesised to have affected the perceived photoperiod of either the parents or the offspring which in turn led to increased parental care. This may have negative fitness consequences for the parents, and light pollution may thus create an ecological trap for breeding birds.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere37377
JournalPLoS One
Journal publication date2012

ID: 332796