Study: AM Radio Waves May Affect Migratory Birds
May 8, 2014 at 4:01 AM (PT)
A study reported in the journal NATURE says that AM radio signals and electronics can send out interference that "can disrupt the internal magnetic compasses of migratory birds."
Biologist HENRIK MOURITSEN of the UNIVERSITY OF OLDENBURG in GERMANY studied migratory robins and found that the birds could not orient themselves when on campus in the city, while they could in the countryside; when the huts in which the birds were kept on campus were screened with grounded aluminum, reducing electromagnetic interference, the birds could orient themselves, and when the grounding was disconnected, the birds again lost their ability to get oriented. The team did seven years' worth of double-blind tests.
One researcher interviewed by NATURE, the UNIVERSITY OF FRANKFURT's ROSWITHA WILTSCHKO, contended that she has not seen the same results in her own work, finding that without shielding, her birds were "perfectly oriented," while VIRGINIA TECH biologist JOHN PHILLIPS said, "These effects are real," and a commentary with the paper by CALTECH geobiologist JOSEPH KIRSCHVINK raised the prospect that humans might have to stop using the part of the spectrum affecting the birds, including AM radio.