BRIGHT lights in the Dingle Peninsula are luring Manx Shearwater seabirds to their deaths, it has been claimed.
Thousands of the birds breed in internationally important numbers on the Blasket Islands and the young leave nests in September.
According to BirdWatch Ireland (BWI), they should be heading for rich feeding grounds off South America, but are drawn inland by the lights of Dingle and Ballyferriter, where new street lights were installed last year.
The problem is that, after they land on solid ground, the birds are unable to take off again because they are more accustomed to flying over the oceans from steep cliffs on coastal islands, their natural habitat.
In the past week, two shearwaters have been found in west Kerry. One was in The Grove housing estate, Dingle, and the one was found dead under the street lights in Ballyferriter, apparently after being hit by a car.
Jill Cosher, of the West Kerry Branch of BirdWatch Ireland, said they are unharmed when they land but could quickly be killed by dogs, cats or cars.
She asked people who find stranded birds to contact two experienced local volunteers, Áine and Seamus, who are prepared to keep the birds until weather conditions allow a safe release from a remote headland after dark.
The rescue project is supervised by senior BWI conservation officer, Dr Stephen Newton.
lPeople finding birds in the Dingle area can contact local volunteers, Aine, 086-3596408, or Seamus, 087-9978661.
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