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FAA Prefers Flashing Tower Lights

Feds asks tower owners to turn off steady warning lights to save migratory birds

Federal aviation officials this month decided that towers may turn off one type of warning light that is likely a cause of bird collisions without endangering aircraft.

Some 6.8 million migrating birds die when they hit communications towers in the U.S. and Canada, according to federal wildlife researchers.

Broadcasters doubt the number is that high and point to counter research collated by the FCC that says more birds die from cats and flying into windows.

The Wall Street Journal reports federal wildlife researchers found the birds are disoriented by steady red warning lights and now the FAA has determined it is okay to turn those off and pilots can still see the towers at night using flashing red warning lights.

The FCC hasn’t made the new light scheme mandatory but officials said recently they would honor the change, according to the account.

In December, the commission began requiring formal public notice and requiring for new towers taller than 450 feet an environmental assessment of the potential impact on migratory birds.

Officials from the American Bird Conservancy and the Audubon Society hope lower tower maintenance and electrical bills might prompt tower owners to adopt the change.