Kauai residents asked to help endangered seabirds by dimming lights, sheltering cats and dogs


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LIHUE, Hawaii — Kauai residents are being asked to dim lights at night to keep threatened and endangered Hawaiian seabirds from getting confused as they fly from the mountains to the sea.

The Garden Island reported Thursday (http://goo.gl/NvCDpC ) that seabirds get disoriented by artificial lights along the coast. Then they land on roads, parking lots and lawns, making them vulnerable to cars, cats and dogs. They also sometimes collide with poles, wires and buildings before crashing to the ground.

Seabirds were traditionally used by navigators finding their way back to the islands. They also help fishermen by leading them to schools of ahi in the sea. The birds are considered critical to Kauai's watersheds because they fertilize the soil with marine nutrients in their droppings.

Homeowners are asked to turn off decorative and unnecessary lights, shield lights and point them down to the ground, close curtains at night and put security lights on motion detectors so they aren't on all the time. Residents also were asked to keep dogs and cats inside so they don't kill the birds. Kauai residents have been taking these steps to help protect the birds every year.

Those who find a seabird are asked to carefully pick it up using a towel or T-shirt, place the bird in a shoe box with ventilation holes and bring the animal to the nearest fire station or humane society.

Information from: The Garden Island, http://thegardenisland.com/

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