Lost in Migration

European_Robin_2German scientists have found that radio waves can throw birds off their migration paths. The phenomenon is most acute in cities. The paper was published in Nature last week.

The scientists discovered the issue when trying to research the impacts of subtle magnetic fields on bird migration in their lab in Oldenburg, Germany, a BBC article reports. A much-replicated method of studying bird migration and magnetic fields didn’t work until the scientists shielded their experiment from radio waves of a certain frequency.

They study found that birds are adversely affected by EMF (electromagnetic frequency) radiation and levels much lower than humans are. So low, in fact, that the BBC article says only quantum level phenomena can explain it.

The research was conducted for seven years. In the BBC article, a scientist explained that the team wanted to be extra careful before reporting the unexpected findings, which they knew would be controversial.

Read the Nature article here. (Subscription or fee required for full article.)
BBC article here.
Article in The Australian, here.

Photo: European robin, the subject of the lab experiments. By Sunnyjim (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-2.0-uk (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/uk/deed.en)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

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