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Earth Science

Electromagnetic Noise Found To Affect Bird Navigation 71

Posted by timothy
from the or-did-you-mean-magnetic-north? dept.
Rambo Tribble (1273454) writes "A 7-year German study has come to a troubling conclusion: the EM noise from human activities is interfering with birds' magnetic 'compass' [paywalled paper, but above-average abstract], and potentially disrupting migratory behavior. While science is unclear how the birds' compasses work, it is theorized it employs the quantum phenomenon of electron spin. As the lead researcher, Prof Henrik Mouritsen, is quoted as saying, 'A very small perturbation of these electron spins would actually prevent the birds from using their magnetic compass.' The BBC has a nice summary article, as well."
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Electromagnetic Noise Found To Affect Bird Navigation

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  • by mr_mischief (456295) on Thursday May 08, 2014 @11:47AM (#46949843) Journal

    According to the BBC summary they also orient according to the sun and stars. This disrupts one of three systems. In the US, there's some decent evidence that major landmarks like rivers and lakes are used even by birds that are not water birds, too. It's certainly not a huge problem for most migratory birds. Lack of food sources at their traditional migration times may be much more important.

"It ain't so much the things we don't know that get us in trouble. It's the things we know that ain't so." -- Artemus Ward aka Charles Farrar Brown

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