Report on Broadcast Towers' Impact on Avian Mortality Finalized


Staff member
Radio World's Paul McLane has a good review of the FCC's Final Programmatic Environmental Assessment for the Antenna Structure Registration Program. He includes data from the report showing that towers cause an insignificant amount of bird mortality compared to windows, cats, power lines, hunting, automobiles and pesticides.
The Report contains interesting information on RF and birds. It notes, "Some researchers have suggested that indirect effects on migratory birds may include possible effects from RF radiation." It says, "The USFWS has expressed concerns that non-ionizing RF radiation, even at levels too low to cause thermal effects, could be harmful to migratory birds." Research on wild birds at cellular phone tower sites in Valladolid, Spain found strong negative correlations between levels of tower-emitted microwave radiation and bird breeding, nesting, and roosting in the vicinity of the electromagnetic fields. Other studies showed "house sparrows, white storks, rock doves, magpies, collared doves, and other species that had historically been documented to roost and nest in these areas subsequently exhibited nest and site abandonment, plumage deterioration, locomotion problems, and even death among some birds found close to cellular phone antennas." The symptoms were not observed prior to cell phone tower construction.

Laboratory studies found radiation at the same frequency and intensity used in cellular telephones in the United States appears to have resulted in the death of domestic chicken embryos. "These laboratory studies have been interpreted to suggest that non-ionizing RF radiation at levels far below the existing exposure guidelines for humans may have harmful effects on wild birds."
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