This is an updated article from an original, published in two previous Newsletters. Since we often find new information and new sources for good lighting, the specific recommendation for bulbs is listed separately from the basic information.
For now, we have summarized this new information in this bulb list. Bottom line, there is no perfect solution. The best lights are the FeatherBrite and the Philips fluoresccent tubes. But each FeatherBrite bulb is not bright enough to adequately light a bird room, so several would be recommended. And never put a shade over the full-spectrum bulbs or you will diminish the quality. The Philips tubes are good, though some of the recommended ballasts seem to have a very short lifespan. With the Philips tubes you would want to also mount some black lights if you want UV-A supplementation. Finally, some places from which we've ordered Philips tubes have sent us Sylvania instead, insisting they are the same. They are NOT. It's even apparent from just looking at them that they have a redder temperature. Fluorescents also cannot be put on a timer.
NEW UPDATE 07/28/17:
- Yuji bulb: The Yuji bulbs seem to be back in stock and we have a new link in the bulb list file. However, feedback from people using it is that it doesn't last very long, in some cases less than a year, before "going out."
- CREE bulb: We just discovered that the CRI claim from the manufacturer for the CREE lights was misleading. The CRI of 91 is dimished by the covering that comes with, and is an integral part of, the bulb.
NEW UPDATE 1/25/16: The Yuji bulbs seem to be out-of-stock and our link for them is no longer working. We'll look into this. In addition, tests among our volunteers have found that the Yuji bulbs do not last very long (a year at best).