Research in Michigan prompts changes in cell phone towers

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DETROIT (AP) — Federal agencies are working to prevent cell phone tower hazards after a study in Michigan found that they were dangerous to birds.

The Detroit Free Press reports the Federal Aviation Administration has changed its lighting standards for new communication towers, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recently began working to persuade owners and operators of existing towers across Michigan to turn off burning lights or switch to flashing lights.

The moves were prompted by research from the East Lansing field office of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service that showed the towers with steady, burning lights were more deadly to the birds than towers with flashing lights. The researchers concluded that deadly bird-tower collisions would be reduced by 70% if lights were turned off.

About 7 million birds are killed in tower collisions in the U.S. annually.

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