All residents and visitors to Kaua‘i share the responsibility of helping protect the island’s endangered seabirds from fallout! Seabird friendly lighting solutions are a cost effective and permanent way to reduce the number of birds downed and killed each year. 

Lighting to Use:​​

  • Fully shielded lights - BUG system
  • Full cutoff luminaries
  • Motion detectors
  • Back-lit signs
  • Overhangs
  • Low profile lights
  • Light signs from above ​

Lights of Concern:

  • Floodlights
  • Sports facilities
  • Landscaping
  • Aesthetic lighting/sign lighting
  • Water features

Lighting to Avoid:

  • Unshielded lights and exposed bulbs
  • Partially shielded floodlights 
  • Uplighting of signs, tree canopies, building facades
  • Lighting on cliffs and coastal bluffs
  • Lighting off of rooftops and trees

Additional Avoidance Tips:

  • Avoid use of outdoor spotlights or floodlights mounted on rooftops and/or shining out on a coast line or beach;
  • Avoid the use of spotlights shining upward or outward;
  • All outdoor lights should be fully shielded, full cut-off luminaries, or indirect lighting;
  • Spotlights and floodlights, in particular, should be fully shielded and angled within a 90 degree angle from the ground;
  • All signs should be back lit or lit from above pointing down toward the sign. Lights shining up toward signs and other structures (i.e. trees and building facades) increase risk to seabirds;
  • Motion detectors are recommended to minimize and control duration of light use;
  • Use of non-white bulbs or filters is preferred to bright white lights depending on the application and lighting requirements;
  • Construction floodlights and spotlights must be fully shielded.

 It is recommended that project owners or applicants for new projects, existing facilities, or facility renovations consult with the Division of Forestry and Wildlife (DOFAW) and U.S.  Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) prior to finalization of the outdoor lighting plan.


The functions of lighting for safety and security need not be sacrificed to reduce impacts to listed seabirds. This page describes basic approaches developed as part of the KSHCP for potential participants. However the public can also implement these measures at their homes and special events. For businesses and agencies, the reduction of seabird light attraction should be tailored to each facility through consultation with the DLNR and USFWS. The KSHCP office provides free lighting assessments upon request at 808.245.9160


Minimization practices are used in conjunction with avoidance measures to decrease the risk of seabird take due to lights and associated activities. Minimization measures are those which modify lighting (that cannot be turned off or replaced) to eliminate upward lighting and reduce spill light.  These measures also include the training of staff and outreach conducted to raise awareness and preparedness for seabird interactions. 

There are several options regarding how a facility manager can accomplish lighting minimization. Facility staff or maintenance can install the necessary shields or change the angle of the facility lighting. For more complicated changes, the manager may choose to hire local electricians or contractors to provide needed lighting modifications. In regards to outreach and training materials, KSHCP provides basic materials that can be modified easily for the individual facility or business.


Install only full cut-off lights, down lights. This is considered the best strategy to obtain minimization and increase light efficiency. The BUG system is very restrictive with high angle glare.

Fully shield existing lights.  Lights that are not full cut-off models should be retrofitted with shields or shrouds to enable a full cut-off lighting style. 

Decrease lighting levels. Reducing outdoor light intensity can reduce seabird light attraction. 

Avoid Uplighting. Angling and repositioning lights down to the ground could be an alternative to shielding or replacing light fixtures and may be sufficient to make lights full cut-off and eliminate light shining horizontally and vertically. 

Angle lights downward. Angling and repositioning lights may present an alternative to shielding or replacing light fixtures and may be sufficient to make lights fully cut-off and eliminate light shining horizontally and vertically.  Light fixtures may be adjusted so that they point down to the ground as far as possible, ideally, at a 90-degree angle between the light fixture and the mounting surface/pole.

Reduce utility pole height. Installing ground-level lighting, such as along walkways, and reducing utility pole height will decrease light waste and trespass.

Install motion sensors and motion-sensitive lighting. Motion sensors switch lights on only when triggered, thereby limiting the time that the light stays on and reducing its potential for seabird light attraction.

Install independent controls for lights. The ability to turn individual floodlights and spotlights off or on independent of other lights is advantageous and useful at some facilities. This measure can enable a landowner to turn off the most problematic lights during the fallout season (September 15 to December 15), while allowing for operation of other lights.

Alteration of light color. In some places installation of amber or yellow LED lights may be appropriate in decreasing risk of attraction. There have been recent studies on the use of a green light however, experimental data are lacking with reference to seabirds. In 2007, NAM (Nederlandse Aardolie Maatschappij) and Philips UK jointly conducted studies in the north Sea to evaluate the effects of green color lights on oil platforms on birds migrating across the north Sea. Off the island of Vlieland along the Dutch Coast, almost all the floodlights on the NAM platform L15 were replaced with newly designed 36W TLD and 400W HPI lamps for a period of 3 nights.   According to the study (Van De Lar 2007), a 50-90% reduction of impact can be achieved: fewer birds displayed circling behavior than could reasonably have been expected based on migration and weather conditions and the number birds landing on the platform was markedly smaller than under normal lighting conditions.  Philips is performing an onshore pilot project using the green light to test the effects on habitat at a small harbor. 

Alteration of light structure. An interim measure for globe lights may include painting the top half of the globe or light cover to make it opaque and thus decrease the amount of light being emitted from the top and sides of the fixture.

Decreasing seabird light attraction caused by interior lights. Facilities with large and/or numerous windows, tall building profiles, or large glass facades may also pose a risk of light attraction to Covered Seabirds on Kaua‘i. Install screens  or shades over large windows that are pulled down nightly during the fallout season; modify buildings and decrease or eliminate light glow from within a facility; create glass opacity to prevent the  escape of internal light; install physical screens outside a building; install landscaping in front of large windows; close all window blinds after daylight hours until sunrise; stagger the operation of lights in the evening or morning hours so that not all lights are turned on at once; and maximize the number of offices or indoor rooms that turn off all lights after sunset.


Outreach.  Outreach materials are recommended and can provide a public relations and publicity benefit. The outreach material may include a brochure on the problems of light attraction, how your facility is addressing the problem, biological information and photographs, and ways in which guests and customers can help minimize seabird fallout at the facility and respond to downed seabirds.  KSHCP staff can help provide electronic files for the printing use of outreach materials. 

Hosting a Save Our Shearwaters Aid Station. Some facilities may elect to host a Save Our Shearwaters Aid Station to facilitate seabird rescue, particularly if they are located in a relatively remote area or have the potential to find many birds.


International Dark Sky Association:
Fatal Light Awareness Program: