Birds and lighthouses have always had a strange sort of relationship. Keepers, both of lighthouses and lightships, were often recruited as amateur ornithologists and encouraged to send specimens to scientific organisations. Some of them actually became quite professional and were able to identify birds rarely if ever seen on our coasts.
At night, birds are attracted to the beams, often flying straight at the glass and extinguishing themselves rather than the light. Keepers have often reported hundreds of birds lying dead and stunned at the base of a lighthouse on waking up in the morning. Some would fly straight at the lantern and break their beaks. Others would throttle themselves on the lattice work surrounding the lantern, some would fall prey to lighthouse cats.
Ducks were no exception, migrating birds often finding the warm glow of the lighthouse beam a tempting encouragement to break their journey and rest. According to nineteenth century reports, many were killed by breaking their wings while flapping around the lantern; others actually split themselves in two, divebombing the lantern from a height, beak first.
Then there was this beauty who, in 1856, actually succeeded in getting inside the lantern!
96 years later, an extremely obliging duck sacrificed itself in order to feed the poor starving keepers on the Tuskar Rock.
Obviously a duck flying headfirst at a lighthouse had the capacity to do an awful amount of damage, as this report from Flamborough Head in England in 1879 demonstrates: -