Cliff swallows are federally protected, migratory songbirds, and it is a violation of state and federal laws to harm them or interfere with their nests while they are breeding. They help us by eating mosquitoes and other insects along the river bank.
There is a nesting colony living under the New Hope-Lambertville Bridge. It is declining. From 150 nests, they are down to 30.
There is concern among citizens on both sides of the bridge. There are plans to renovate the bridge and in doing so, to add large programmable vanity lights to the underside of the bridge.
This doesn’t benefit anyone living in the river towns. Besides the Las Vegas atmosphere that would be created in our charming and historical towns, the cliff swallows would not be able to nest there.
Bucks County Audubon Society is concerned and even asks businesses and residents to turn off their outside lights during the fall migrating season, which is underway.
Towns like Doylestown, which is calling for a “Lights Out Doylestown” initiative, are recognizing that light pollution negatively effects our lives. It’s bad for our planet and migratory practices of swallows and other birds. I hope we can be inspired to do our part.
The bridge is a beautiful, still a place to be at night. I’m sure that the patrons of the upscale inns and restaurants will enjoy the beauty of walking over the bridge with the same pedestrian lights that we have now. I’m confident that businesses will thrive even without party lights.
Can the swallows survive?
Nancy Shill, New Hope