[ RadSafe ] Birds and radioactivity

John R Johnson idiasjrj at gmail.com
Tue Mar 6 08:34:47 CST 2012


Is this Moeller one of the Moeller who belong to the HPS?


On Tue, Mar 6, 2012 at 5:52 AM, Karen Street <Karen_Street at sbcglobal.net>wrote:

> Bjorn,
> I'll be interested if you learn more, and if the authors respond. Here is
> some added perspective—
> Moeller has run into trouble before, according to a Scientific American
> blogger (
> http://www.scientificamerican.com/blog/post.cfm?id=scientific-meltdown-at-chernobyl-2009-03-24).
> And one of the participants in their Chernobyl study said that they ignored
> big variations from region to region in habitat. And Moeller manages to
> acquire boucoup data and write a lot, 30 articles in 2008. My guess is that
> all of his work is in fields where others are unlikely to run confirming
> experiments, because bird brain size is not of major interest to most
> researchers.
> Science has a better track record and more respect in fields where people
> care a great deal about the numbers and check them extensively (physics and
> climate change), not so much in fields where a single person or group
> follows its bliss with no check from the greater community.
> >
> > When I saw this paper last week I first noted that the article mentioned
> that 14 bird species were common for Chernobyl and Fukushima. The article
> did not give the species names however. Instead they appear in an attached
> appendix (separate file).
> > The appendix triggered my attention further because it was a long list
> of bird names in Latin. I decided to go through the list and see which the
> 14 species were. Numbers in parenthesis below = the number of observations,
> "neg" means negative slope = decline, I have here added the names in
> English:
> > Acrocephaus arundinaceus (17, neg), great reed warbler
> > Aegithalos caudatus (46), long-tailed tit
> > Alauda arvensis (3), skylark
> > Buteo buteo (10, neg), common buzzard
> > Corvus corone (103, neg), carrion crow
> > Delichon urbica (1), common house martin
> > Garrulus glandarius (8), eurasian jay
> > Hirundo rustica (144, neg), barn swallow
> > Motacilla alba (8, neg), white wagtail
> > Parus ater (17), coal tit
> > Parus major (56), great tit
> > Parus montanus (1), willow tit
> > Passer montanus (294, neg), euroasian tree sparrow
> > Troglodytes troglodytes (1), eurasian wren
> >
> > In other words, six "common" species which have a negative slope
> dominated by the following three: carrion crow, barn swallow and euroasian
> tree sparrow. Most of the 14 species above are quite common in northern
> Europe. In addition, a field sparrow, Emberiza cioides (Meadow Bunting or
> Siberian Meadow Bunting) and Cetthia cetti (Cettis warbler) showed a
> decline.
> >
> > The first three of these are clearly associated with humans to some
> extent. I would not be surprised if that also to some extent is true for
> the Emberiza species whereas I know nothing about the Cetthia except that
> it is a migratory bird.
> >
> > So I have a question here: If people are evacuated from some of these
> areas - doesn't that then also mean the the life conditions for these birds
> also change? I doubt that this has anything to do with radiation dose as
> the doses are far too small to be expected to affect bird behavior. The
> slope in Fig. 2 in the paper - I wrote one of the authors and asked about
> the units - it is log(abundance) as a function of log/microSv/hour). From a
> strict point, the unit should not be in microSv as the sievert only is
> defined for humans.
> >
> > Does RadSafer know anything about the behavior of the Cetthia species?
> Was it particularly cold in northern Japan last year or just "normal" (I'm
> thinking about the migratory pattern)? In addition, what does it mean for
> all these bird species that large areas were flooded?
> >
> > I do not have the background material with me at this moment of writing
> but if I recall correctly, all Parus species and the related Aegithalos
> caudatus showed an increase in numbers. It may also be commented that the
> buzzard partly is associated with humans (like waiting along highways etc
> looking for road kill - something they probably won't do when the car
> traffic ceases).
> >
> > My personal comment only,
> >
> > Bjorn Cedervall, Stockholm, Sweden
> >
> --------------------------------------------------------------------------
> >
> >> From: Karen_Street at sbcglobal.net>
> >> The Economist has an article saying that more radioactivity, fewer
> birds, and the problem is twice as bad at Fukushima as Chernobyl.
> >>
> >> http://www.economist.com/node/21548920?frsc=dg|a
> >>
> >>
> >> One problem is that the reason they give at the end is so unlikely
> (different composition of radionuclides). Another is a question about who
> is doing the inventory at 35 µSv/hour locations, and how good the inventory
> is.
> --
> Best wishes,
> Karen Street
> Friends Energy Project
> blog http://pathsoflight.us/musing/index.php
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