Fcc to Reduce Bird Kills?

Scientists have found that millions of birds are killed each year when they crash into communication towers. Now officials at the Federal Communications Commission are thinking about making companies change the way they build the towers. Mark Brush has more:

Transcript

Scientists have found that millions of birds are killed each year when they crash into communication towers. Now officials at the Federal Communications Commission are thinking about making companies change the way they build the towers. Mark Brush has more:


The explosion of cell phones has meant an explosion of new communication towers, but when these towers are built using guy wires, and use traditional lighting systems, they can end up really hurting bird populations.


Steve Holmer is with the American Bird Conservancy. He says the steady red lights on these towers can confuse birds that use stars to migrate at night.


“The birds are actually attracted to these towers, kind of like a moth to the flame, and will actually circle around them and strike the towers, or strike the guide wires, or actually just keep circling until they exhaust themselves.”


Holmer says that simply replacing these lights with white strobe lights would help a lot.


The FCC will be seeking public comments on whether or not they should require that new communication towers be bird friendly.


For the Environment Report, I’m Mark Brush.

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Bird Groups Sue Fcc Over Towers

Conservation groups want the FCC to be more careful about allowing the building of communications towers. The groups say the fate of millions of migratory birds may be at stake. The Great Lakes Radio Consortium’s Chuck Quirmbach reports:

Transcript

Conservation groups want the FCC to be more careful about allowing the
building of communications towers. The groups say the fate of millions
of migratory birds may be at stake. The Great Lakes Radio Consortium’s
Chuck Quirmbach reports:


A lawsuit recently re-filed in federal court charges the Federal
Communications Commission with failing to comply with several
environmental laws in its licensing of communications towers.


David Fischer of the American Bird Conservancy says the FCC rarely
considers the potential effect of towers on birds.


“On birds that have been known for many years now to fly in or around
or otherwise impact towers and either injure themselves or die.”


The lawsuit specifically involves towers along the Gulf Coast… which
is on the migration route of many birds that spend summers in the
Midwest. But the Bird Conservancy says the case may set an example for
tower projects all over the U.S.


The FCC says it doesn’t comment on pending litigation. The
conservation groups first brought their case three years ago.


For the GLRC, I’m Chuck Quirmbach.

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New Vaccine for West Nile Virus?

Researchers might soon have a vaccine to protect birds from the West Nile virus. The Great Lakes Radio Consortium’s Lester Graham reports:

Transcript

Researchers might soon have a vaccine to protect birds from the West Nile virus. The Great Lakes Radio Consortium’s Lester Graham reports.


The centers for disease control and the U.S. Army are getting help to develop a vaccine for prevention of the mosquito borne West Nile virus. Here in the U.S. in the past couple of years, the virus has been responsible for the deaths of thousands of birds from more than seventy species. Michael Hutchins is with the American Zoo and Aquarium Association. He says research into a vaccine ahs been driven by the need to protect birds in zoos.


“The current studies are to develop an injectable vaccine, but the intention is to try to take that and develop an ingestible variety that could be spread on bird feed and would therefore have a hopefully-big impact on wild birds as well.”


Chicago’s Brookfield Zoo, the Walt Disney Foundation, the Wildlife Conservation Society and the American Bird Conservancy have all contributed to the project. Hutchins says a vaccine could be developed as soon as the next month or so. For the Great Lakes Radio Consortium, this is Lester Graham.