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Light and noise often act as pollutants, but can also be used as tools for managing wildlife (e.g., sensory deterrents). Given that raptors are among the most threatened groups of birds, we expected there to be a moderate amount of applied research on their sensory ecology. We searched Web of Science and Google Scholar to quantify and classify the research that has been conducted on the applied sensory ecology of raptors. Of 32 studies assessing the effects of sensory pollution on raptors, we found that 10 studies examined effects of light pollution and 24 studies examined effects of noise pollution. Most of the studies regarding sensory pollution were of owls (21 studies). The United States was the site of the most noise pollution studies (seven studies) whereas Spain and Poland (two studies each) were sites of the most studies of light pollution. We found only seven studies that directly collected data regarding sensory deterrents. With so few studies examining applied aspects of the sensory ecology of raptors, we argue that effects of sensory pollution are poorly understood and the efficacy of sensory deterrents is largely unknown. Light and noise pollution are spreading across much of the globe. Applied research on the sensory ecology of raptors must be made a priority if wildlife managers are to conserve this imperiled group of birds.

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This document was originally published in Journal of Raptor Research by the Raptor Research Foundation. Copyright restrictions may apply.

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