A possible effect of long-term exposure to low-intensity electromagnetic radiation from mobile phone (GSM) base stations on the number of House Sparrows during the breeding season was studied in six residential districts in Belgium. We sampled 150 point locations within the 6 areas to examine small-scale geographic variation in the number of House Sparrow males and the strength of electromagnetic radiation from base stations. Spatial variation in the number of House Sparrow males was negatively and highly significantly related to the strength of electric fields from both the 900 and 1800MHz downlink frequency bands and from the sum of these bands (Chi2-tests and AIC-criteria, P <0001). This negative relationship was highly similar within each of the six study areas, despite differences among areas in both the number of birds and radiation levels. Thus, our data show that fewer House Sparrow males were seen at locations with relatively high electric field strength values of GSM base stations and therefore support the notion that long-term exposure to higher levels of radiation negatively affects the abundance or behavior of House Sparrows in the wild.
EWI Biomedische wetenschappen
- vogels (Aves)