Op-Ed: New York state has annouced it will dim lights to help migratory birds but across Europe on the island of Malta such birds still battle for survival.
When birds migrate they are believed to use the stars to guide them but the night sky over a huge city like New York can cause the birds confusion and result in disorientation and crashes into high buildings. Dimming the lights will help the birds on their way safely.
According to BBC News "they can be disorientated by electric lights, causing them to crash into buildings.The phenomenon, known as "fatal light attraction", is estimated to kill up to one billion birds a year in the US. Millions of birds migrate through New York along the Atlantic Flyway route. Now those passing over the city by night will stand a better chance of making it further north."
The National Audubon Society's Lights Out programme now includes many landmarks across America; Monday's announcement that lights will be turned off between 23:00 and dawn during peak migration seasons in spring and autumn was made by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo.
But the struggle to save migratory birds that pass over Malta continues.
Visiting the small Mediterranean Island in September 1991 we noted that some houses had tiny bird cages close to bedroom windows and learned that captured migratory birds were kept in these. Their pitiful song was a plea for freedom.
But worse still an estimated "3 million birds are shot or trapped on Malta while migrating between Africa and Europe in the spring and autumn, leading to a gradual decline of these beloved European birds that traditionally seek refuge in Malta."
The caged birds help lure others which are then shot and killed by huntsman.
Hunting laws were relaxed in 1994 and in 2015 are all but abandoned.
When the Guardian reported "Chris Packham: Malta is a bird hell" in August 2014 they said Malta allows 9,798 hunters to shoot up to 16,000 turtle dove and quail each spring. But Chris Packham, a BBC presenter, English naturalist, nature photographer, and author, in August found injured and dead birds illegally shot included swifts, yellow-legged gulls, kestrels and a little bittern.