Are radios confusing bird migration?

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Offline thedoc

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Are radios confusing bird migration?
« on: 16/05/2014 14:30:02 »
Radio waves might be interfering with the migration patterns of nearby birds, according to research from Germany...
 Read a transcript of the interview by clicking here
or [chapter podcast=1000689 track=14.05.13/Naked_Scientists_Show_14.05.13_1002273.mp3] Listen to it now[/chapter] or [download as MP3]
« Last Edit: 16/05/2014 15:52:49 by CliffordK »


Offline alancalverd

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Re: Are radios confusing bird migration?
« Reply #1 on: 16/05/2014 18:14:40 »
Fascinating. We know that pigeons navigate with a magnetic compass, and can get disoriented by a static mag field, but I wonder what makes these robins decide to jump in a particular direction? If the experiment was done indoors, it can't be wind or sun, which just leaves magnetic, electric, or chemical gradients (most unlikely to produce a consistent effect indoors).

Now it gets interesting. You don't need to ground a faraday cage to suppress  electromagnetic radiation: quite simply, there is no electrical field inside a closed conductor. We usually ground them for convenience and electrical safety in the event of a power supply short to the cage, but grounding isn't  necessary to prevent the transmission of RF radiation. So what's going on here?

Furthermore, a lot depends on where in Germany the work was done, where the birds were sourced from, and what sex they were!. Although they are all the same species, Scandinavian robins migrate but British Isles birds, particularly males,  are mostly resident (especially in Ireland) and viciously territorial, with a few winter visitors from Scandinavia.  I can imagine that northern or mountain German robins might have some migratory tendencies, but lowland robins are probably as territorial as their British cousins - some males possibly even moving north from open farmland to a winter city feeding ground even if the females seek warmer climes.

helping to stem the tide of ignorance