WHAT IS FALLOUT?

SEPTEMBER 15 - DECEMBER 15 IS FLEDGING SEASON FOR KAUA‘I'S ENDANGERED SEABIRDS, ALSO KNOWN AS FALLOUT SEASON.

Fallout is the phenomenon of fledglings grounded after attraction to light (Seabird recovery data provided by Save Our Shearwaters (SOS) shows peaks in fallout  on nights with no moon and notably lesser fallout on nights with a visible moon. The reason for these nocturnal seabirds’ attraction to artificial light is still largely unknown, but based on this evidence it is theorized that fledglings rely on natural light to navigate on their first flights from the nest to the sea, and that artificial light causes disorientation.

Whatever the explanation, each year an unfortunate subset of the fledging population is grounded by lights, where they become vulnerable to urban threats like traffic, dogs off-leash, and outdoor cats. In areas where lights are particularly bright and unshielded, birds can be seen circling the lights repeatedly until they either collide with a nearby structure or become exhausted and glide to the ground. Once grounded, it is very difficult for a fledgling to become airborne again, due to lack of wind and sufficient elevation and clearance for takeoff.

YOU CAN HELP!

Keep an eye out for black and white seabirds on the ground during fledging season, and keep a box with a towel in your car just in case you find a seabird who needs rescuing!

If you find a downed seabird, call the Save Our Shearwaters (SOS)​ hotline at (808) 635-5117.