TIME animals

Birds Are Getting Lost Because of Our Gadgets, Claims Study

A Robin stands in the snow in Bramall Park in Manchester
Phil Noble—Reuters

A new study shows that man-made radiation stemming from electronic devices disrupts migratory birds' internal compasses

European migratory birds are having trouble finding their way around because of man-made magnetic radiation, a new report shows.

Researchers believe electromagnetic waves from major cities, stemming from electronic devices, disrupt the internal compasses of the birds, hampering their natural orientation skills.

Henrik Mouritsen, co-author of the report published in the science journal Nature, says robins were better able to navigate when their huts were covered with aluminum plating to obscure the magnetic interference.

Otherwise, the electromagnetic waves disrupted the birds’ internal magnetic compasses, he says.

The study was completed through seven years of double-blind experiments.

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