The US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit has ordered the FCC to conduct a study of the effect of communications towers on migratory birds in the Gulf Coast region, charging that it violated the rules by allowing towers to be built in the absence of such a study. An attorney working on behalf of the birds on this issue said it was a significant ruling, forcing the FCC to "carefully assess the impact of communications towers on birds." The study is to focus on 6K tower in the Gulf region and deal with those found to be of greatest concern.
According to the Associated Press, estimates form the US Fish and Wildlife Service place the annual number of bird tower collision deaths somewhere between 4M and 50M. Lighting and wiring issues are said to be areas where improvements may be possible in some cases. The FCC was also ordered to do a better job collecting public input before towers are approved for construction.
RBR/TVBR observation: Most of the broadcasters we’ve heard from on this topic are wondering where the bodies are. One California radio owner had tower issues to deal with despite the fact that nobody had ever seen a dead bird of any type anywhere near the tower — not even from natural causes. We’re all for protecting wildlife and other green initiatives, but we’d at least like to make sure that the requirements are sensible. This ruling does at least appear to take a measured approach to the problem, rather than imposing a blanket requirement on all towers regardless of their culpability or proximity to migration routes.