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FCC acts on bird deaths

January 18, 2011
Toledo Chronicle, Tama News-Herald
Letter to the Editor:

After years of delay, petitions and lawsuits, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is finally moving forward on steps to reduce songbird deaths from communication towers.

But the FCC needs to go further to get to the bottom of all the factors causing needless mortality of our migrating songbirds.

Ask the FCC to conduct a full environmental impact statement to accurately document all impacts to migratory birds from communications towers.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service estimates that millions of birds are killed each year because of communications towers. Scientists have shown that—especially during bad weather conditions—migrating birds become disoriented and trapped by the halo of light surrounding towers using steady-burning illumination, circling endlessly until they either collide with the structure, collide with each other, or simply fall dead from sheer exhaustion.

In one instance, an estimated 5,000 to 10,000 dead birds were documented at three nearby towers in one night!

The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service has issued science-based guidelines on the siting and operation of these towers to minimize bird deaths. Now the FCC, after dragging its feet for years, is proceeding with an environmental assessment to identify impacts on birds. But this is only half the job — a full environmental impact statement is needed to identify all of the impacts, including the cumulative impacts of thousands of towers scattered across the country, as well as common sense alternatives that will help reduce this needless mortality.

Please email the FCC and urge them to conduct a full environmental impact statement so that measures can be put in place to prevent future migratory bird deaths at towers.

Audubon Society

Washington, DC 20036



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