Home
Medical/biological study (observational study)

The Urban Decline of the House Sparrow (Passer domesticus): A Possible Link with Electromagnetic Radiation.

Published in: Electromagn Biol Med 2007; 26 (2): 141-151

Aim of study (acc. to author)

To study whether the population of house sparrows (birds that usually live in the urban environment) is declining in Spain and to evaluate the hypothesis that electromagnetic irradiation from mobile phone antennae is correlated with the decline in the house sparrow population.
Background/further details: Between October 2002 and May 2006, point transect sampling was performed at 30 points during 40 visits to Valladolid, Spain. At each point, counts of sparrows were carried out and the mean electric field strength was measured (radiofrequencies and microwaves: 1 MHz-3 GHz range).

Endpoint

  • number of house sparrows

Exposure

Exposure Parameters
Exposure 1: 1 MHz–3 GHz
Exposure duration: 3 years and 8 months
Exposure 1
Main characteristics
Frequency 1 MHz–3 GHz
Type
Exposure duration 3 years and 8 months
Exposure setup
Exposure source
Parameters
Measurand Value Type Method Mass Remarks
electric field strength 3.5 V/m maximum measured - -
electric field strength 0.4 V/m mean measured - -
Exposed system:
  • animal
  • house sparrow (Passer domesticus)
  • whole body

Methods Endpoint/measurement parameters/methodology

  • number of house sparrows
Investigated material:
Time of investigation:
  • during exposure

Main outcome of study (acc. to author)

Significant declines were found in the mean bird density over time, and significantly low bird density was revealed in areas with high electric field strength. The data support the hypothesis that electromagnetic fields are associated with the observed decline in the house sparrow population.
Study character:

Study funded by

  • not stated/no funding

Related articles

  • Tomas G et al. (2012): Clutch size and egg volume in great tits (Parus major) increase under low intensity electromagnetic fields: A long-term field study.
  • Dell'Omo G et al. (2009): Magnetic fields produced by power lines do not affect growth, serum melatonin, leukocytes and fledging success in wild kestrels.
  • Everaert J et al. (2007): A Possible Effect of Electromagnetic Radiation from Mobile Phone Base Stations on the Number of Breeding House Sparrows (Passer domesticus).
  • Grigorev IG et al. (2005): [The electromagnetic fields of the base stations of mobile radio communication and ecology. The estimation of danger of the base station EMF for population and for bioecosystems]
  • Balmori A (2005): Possible Effects of Electromagnetic Fields from Phone Masts on a Population of White Stork (Ciconia ciconia)
  • Fernie KJ et al. (2005): The effects of electromagnetic fields from power lines on avian reproductive biology and physiology: a review.
  • Thalau P et al. (2005): Magnetic compass orientation of migratory birds in the presence of a 1.315 MHz oscillating field.
  • Thalau HP et al. (2003): Temperature changes in chicken embryos exposed to a continuous-wave 1.25 GHz radiofrequency electromagnetic field.
  • Grigorev OA et al. (2003): [Anthropogenic EMF effects on the condition and function of natural ecosystems]
  • Fernie KJ et al. (2001): Evidence of oxidative stress in American kestrels exposed to electromagnetic fields.
  • Fernie KJ et al. (2000): Effects of electromagnetic fields on the reproductive success of American kestrels.
  • Fernie KJ et al. (1999): Effects of electromagnetic fields on photophasic circulating melatonin levels in American kestrels.
  • Farrell JM et al. (1997): The effect of pulsed and sinusoidal magnetic fields on the morphology of developing chick embryos.
  • Tanner JA (1982): The effects of chronic exposure to very low intensity microwave radiation on domestic fowl.