Transcripts of the August 11, 1999, Workshop on Avian Mortality at Communication Towers, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY.

Cite as:

Evans, W. R., and A. M. Manville, II (eds.). 2000. Avian mortality at communication towers. Transcripts of Proceedings of the Workshop on Avian Mortality at Communication Towers, August 11, 1999, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY. Published on the internet at <

Announcement and Agenda

Avian Mortality at Communications Towers
Wednesday, August 11, 1999, 1:00- 5:45 pm
Cornell University's Uris Hall Auditorium
117th Meeting of the American Ornithologists' Union

Session Co-chairs: Bill Evans, Consulting Ornithologist and Acoustical Researcher, Ithaca, NY
Al Manville, Wildlife Biologist, Office of Migratory Bird Management, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Arlington, VA

Abstract: This first-of-its kind workshop on the problem of avian mortality caused by collisions with communications towers (cellular, radio, television, and microwave) will be held in conjunction with the 1999 meeting of the American Ornithologists' Union on August 11 at Cornell University's Uris Hall Auditorium, immediately adjacent to the front entrance of Cornell's Statler Hotel. The meeting is scheduled from 1:00 - 5:45 pm and is intended to review progress and seek possible solutions in dealing with bird collisions at communications towers. The focus will be on towers in North America. The problem has precipitated much public interest due, in part, to a large kill of Lapland Longspurs on January 22, 1998, at and in the vicinity of 3 towers in western Kansas, and, in part, due to a new wave of tower construction. Varied perspectives on the bird kill issue will be presented by industry, the NGO community, state and federal agencies, the ornithological community, academia, other researchers, and the general public. Various short presentations by 15 speakers and a panel discussion by 21 experts are planned. Discussions will center around the scientific, legal, policy, and mitigation perspectives, but the focus of the workshop will be on research current knowledge and anticipated needs for avoiding bird kills at towers. Handouts (including the agenda and speaker abstracts) and background materials will be made available for distribution at the workshop. The expanded speaker abstracts and a summary of the panel discussions are proposed for publication on the web. The workshop is being cosponsored by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), the American Bird Conservancy (ABC), and the Ornithological Council (OC). The workshop is open to the public.


1:00 pm Convene session
Welcome, introductions of co-chair, co-sponsors, other distinguished guests
1:10 Why towers? Why now? Purpose and format of the workshop
Nature of the problem, importance of issue to FWS, research gaps and needs, what do we hope to accomplish today?
1:25 Welcome and thank you from Co-chair Evans
  BRIEF PRESENTATIONS. Note: Those with questions are asked to write them down on cards distributed to the audience; questions will be answered during the panel discussion.  
1:35 Speaker Panel 1:
Lights, towers, and avian mortality: where is the science?
Tall Timbers Research Station, Tallahassee, Fl
Todd Engstrom
1:45 The bird brain: magnetic cues, visual cues, and radio frequency effects
Biology Department, State University of New York, Geneseo
Robert Beason
1:55 Investigating the behavioral mechanisms of tower kills
Illinois Natural History Survey, Champaign, IL
Ron Larkin
2:05 The behavioral responses of migrating birds to different lighting systems on tall towers
Clemson University, Clemson, SC
Sid Gauthreaux
2:15 Acoustical monitoring, chirp call identification, and migrations
Consulting Ornithologist and Acoustical Researcher, Ithaca, NY
Bill Evans
2:25 NEXRAD doppler weather radar, other radar applications for bird monitoring
Geo-Marine, Panama City, FL
Adam Kelly
2:35 Buildings, lights, findings applicable to towers, cumulative impacts the Canadian perspective
Fatal Light Awareness Program, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Michael Mesure
2:45 Standardizing methods and metrics for quantifying avian fatalities at communication towers: lessons from the windpower industry
Curry & Kerlinger, Cape May Point, NY
Paul Kerlinger
2:55 Overview of the research situation and recap of Speaker Panel 1 discussions
Clemson University, Clemson, SC
Sid Gauthreaux
3:05 BREAK (soft drinks, fresh fruit, cookies, snacks, provided compliments of the Ornithological Council)  
3:20 Speaker Panel 2:
Licensing concerns, NEPA, sitings, Telecommunications Act mandates the FCC perspective
Office of General Counsel, Federal Communications Commission, Washington, DC
Holly Berland
3:30 Obstruction marking (lights) recommendations from the FAA
Air Space Branch, New England Region, Boston, MA
Dave Bayley
3:40 Permitting, NEPA, endangered species, refuge issues Role of the FWS
Division of Habitat Conservation, USFWS, Arlington, VA
Robert Willis
3:50 Communication towers, avian mortality, and research needs recommendations from USGS Biological Resources Division
USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, Athens, GA
Joe Meyers
4:00 The wireless industry perspective
Personal Communications Industry Association, Washington, DC
Sheldon Moss
4:10 Tower sitings, colocation one industry's creative approach to antenna placement
Southwestern Bell Wireless, SBC Wireless, Dallas, TX
Mike Allred
4:20 Research and policy overview: a critique and needs analysis
Piedmont Environmental Council, Warrenton, VA
Kathleen Rogers
4:30 Panel Discussion:
Convene panel; introduce panel members (previous speakers plus new members) New members:
  • Michael Avery, USDA National Wildlife Research Center, Gainesville, FL
  • Arthur Clark, Buffalo Museum of Science, NY
  • John Powers, Crown Castle International, Albany, NY
  • Dave Wilson, National Association of Broadcasters, Washington, DC
  • Gerald Winegrad, American Bird Conservancy, Washington, DC
  • Steve Ugoretz, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Madison
Briefly review intent of discussion, any anticipated outcomes
4:35 Answer questions from 2 speaker panels Manville
4:50 Panel discussion: an overview of the research situation; what do we know, where do we need to go, how do we get there? Evans:
keep time
5:45 Wrap, thank you, what next
Thanks from the co-chair
5:50 Reception following workshop: free beer (compliments of ABC), cash bar, refreshments, snacks Terrace Cafe, Statler Hotel  

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