US Department of the Interior warns: communication towers threaten birds

Bald EagleshIn a letter regarding a new nationwide wi-fi deployment (called *FirstNet), the US Department of the Interior states the wireless proposal threatens birds, and is not consistent with current information and laws that protect birds.  They called for an environmental review.

hTwo  hundred forty one bird species are at mortality risk from both tower collisions and from exposure to the radiation towers emit.  This includes birds that are endangered or threatened, Birds of Conservation Concern, migratory birds, and eagles.  They estimate up to 6.8 million bird deaths a year may result from collisions with towers.

hhStudies of radiation impacts on wild birds documented nest abandonment, plumage deterioration and death.  Birds studied included House Sparrows, White Storks, Collared Doves, and other species.  Studies in laboratories of chick embryos documented heart attacks and death.

hIn their letter, The Dept of the Interior criticizes the FCC’s radiation safety guidelines stating,“the electromagnetic radiation standards used by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) continue to be based on thermal heating, a criterion now nearly 30 years out of date and inapplicable today.”

For more information see Dept of Interior letter and background:

*In 2010 President Obama called for a new nationwide wireless network.  FirstNet is that broadband initiative. See background proposal and More info on FirstNet. 

“The world is going wireless and we must not fall behind. ” President Barack Obama

See this website for a compilation of studies on effects on wildlife

15 thoughts on “US Department of the Interior warns: communication towers threaten birds”

  1. I began to notice in 2009 that the songbirds I fed were no longer coming to my yard. Only the larger birds like robins frequented and they too were fewer in number. Now I know that beginning 2009 and on our city has been installing new cell towers, antennas, power line communication, and high frequency antennas and cameras on every street light.

  2. So after the birds are gone should we have our cell phones sing to us? Let’s play smart and take care of our birds. Thanks, Joel

  3. The standards must be changed!!! They are based on thermal heating alone, and not biological responses. Communication companies are hiding behind the “contrived ignorance” of these outdated and inappropriate standards to quite literally get away with murder not only of birds, but humans are also sensitive to electromagnetic radiation. Thousands of biological studies exist showing health effects of animals and humans. Not only communication companies are adding to the problem , but power companies are also adding to the electrosmog with smart meters on your home that broadcast 24/7. So if you value birds, and your own health let’s get rid of the electrosmog!

  4. YES! We need to take steps to decommission towers, restore the analog meters, and help people recognize the need to use wired and corded connections, and unplug the wireless. President Obama must wake up to the need to use wired internet and stop glorifying wireless.

  5. People are now linking everything that’s going wrong with cell towers and cell phones! This is absurd! Cell towers are NOT harmful to human health, many experts from WHO themselves have said this! Also, the state of Kerala in India tested its cell towers and gave a clean chit to them, this must mean something! Read the article:

  6. The WHO classifies RF that cell towers and cell phones emit in the same category as DDT, lead and asbestos- as a possible carcinogen. The safety guidelines are set very high, so most cell towers RF will fall under that, but that’s no guarantee of safety, and there’s no guidelines for children.

  7. I live in a small town on the gulf of mexico. I can’t find any sparrows anywhere in my area. I can’t see nor hear any Mockingbirds singing or any other song bird. I very few birds coming to my 4 feeders. I don’t see early morning flocks of anything really..some crows. I don’t hear birds singing in the mornings. I see few Cardinals. I’ve heard a Blue Jay but I haven’t actually seen it. All of these birds use to be in my back yard and they’ve all but disappeared. I counted the birds coming to my feeders this morning from 7am-8am. I counted 14 birds. A few years ago there would have been so many back there you couldn’t keep count. I don’t see birds in the parking lots anymore hunting bugs on vehicles. I don’t see the sparrows getting a drink from the vehicles AC drip line. Except for some crows and buzzards, I don’t see birds sitting on the high-line wires. We have an issue that is being ignored.

  8. My birds have all left since installation of a “smart” meter — really, shouldn’t it be more appropriately named. Several families of birds used to live in a flowering cherry outside my bedroom window and it was glorious in the morning to hear all the songs/activity. It’s dead quiet and the seed in my feeders has been abandoned. I’m heartsick and grieving for the beauty and simplicity which is no longer valued or nurtured in this world.

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