Study type: Medical/biological study (experimental study)

Effects of electromagnetic fields on the growth of nestling american kestrels. med./bio.

Published in: Condor 2000; 102 (2): 461-465

Aim of study (acc. to author)

To study whether electromagnetic field exposure throughout the breeding season affects the growth of captive nestling American kestrels.

Background/further details

Two groups of kestrels were housed under control and exposure conditions throughout the breeding season in the years 1995 and 1996. Exposure began immediatly after kestrels were paired and lasted for 95 days in 1995 and 91 days in 1996, or one week after the last nestling fledged. Altogether 12 female nestlings (6 control, 6 exposure) and 15 male nestlings (6 control, 9 exposure) were studied.The applied electromagnetic fields were equivalent to those experienced by wild kestrels when nesting within 40 m of a 735 kV transmission line running at peak capacity.



Exposure Parameters
Exposure 1: 60 Hz
Exposure duration: 21 hr/day for 95 days in 1995, 23.5 hr/day for 91 days in 1996

Exposure 1

Main characteristics
Frequency 60 Hz
Exposure duration 21 hr/day for 95 days in 1995, 23.5 hr/day for 91 days in 1996
Exposure setup
Exposure source
  • not specified
Setup kestrels kept in 0.7 m x 0.7 m x 1.7 m breeding pen with a 0.3 m x 0.3 m x 0.4 m wooden nest box
Additional info the applied field was equivalent to the field of a 735 kV transmission line in a distance of 40 m
Measurand Value Type Method Mass Remarks
magnetic flux density 30 µT - - - -
electric field strength 10 kV/m - - - -

Reference articles

Exposed system:

Methods Endpoint/measurement parameters/methodology

Investigated system:
Time of investigation:
  • during exposure
  • after exposure

Main outcome of study (acc. to author)

Electromagnetic field exposure affected the growth of female and male kestrel nestlings. Exposed female and male nestlings (when 21 days old) and fledglings (when 27 and 36 days old) were havier and had longer tarsi than female and male control nestlings and fledglings. The period of maximal weight gain began on average 1.1 days later in exposed males than in control males. Although maximal growth of the antebrachia began also on average 1.1 days later in exposed males than control males, antebrachial lengths and growth rates were similar between exposed and control nestlings. The periods of maximal weight gain, growth of tarsi and antebrachia began earlier for control males (after 7.1 days) than control females (after 8.4 days), but not for exposed males (after 8.1 days) compared to exposed females (after 8.2 days). The growth of the ninth primaries and central rectrices of nestlings were unaffected by exposure. Under exposure the periods of maximal weight gain and bone growth did not occur earlier in males than females as it did in the controls.

Study character:

Study funded by

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