A threat to Black-capped Petrels, as with other seabirds that travel overland nocturnally, is mortality from strikes and groundings associated with artificial light. Lighted structures such as communication towers or city lights attract the flying birds, resulting in collisions with wires, buildings or other structures, or disoriented birds sitting on the ground. The placement of communication towers on ridges and hilltops often overlaps with petrel nest habitat. Further, the valleys that petrels follow to and from the sea are formed by rivers that are often at the heart of human towns and cities. The harm caused by the increasing numbers of lighted structures and light pollution from urbanization can be offset by changes in design and behavior changes by owners and communities, most of which are currently unaware of the problem.
On the island of Hispaniola, EPIC along with numerous collaborating foundations, has identified and mapped petrel collision hazards along flyways and at nest areas. The team works with communication organizations to create liaison points with tower owners/managers to reduce threats. The team incorporated remote sensing song meter technology to track tower strikes along petrel flyways and near nesting locations. Additionally, our team worked with community leaders in tower locations to enact response protocols for grounded petrels
Our goals for this program are to reduce known and documented strike threats to petrels through guy wire removal and light attraction hazards. In addition, we aim to create relationships with communication companies which allow for petrel-prioritized management of towers moving forward. Finally, we hope to empower local communities through incorporation in the petrel conservation process