Bird Deaths at Tower Sites, Testimony, and the FCC's Rule-Establishment Proposal

Discussion in 'Design, Development and Standards Discussions' started by Tim Mills, Feb 7, 2008.

  1. Tim Mills

    Tim Mills Friend of the Community

    I am the proprietor of a tower service/build business with 14 total years experience in this trade and 6 years prior experience in the electrical utility construction industry.

    I have seen less than a half-dozen bird carcasses around utility high-voltage distribution pole sites in that work and maybe two bird carcasses (if memory serves) around radio tower sites where I have worked in the past.

    I have been around and to probably hundreds and approaching thousands of utility pole sites (same sites revisited and new combined) in the electrical utility work and at least the same for the tower work in my career. I have had occasion to work at tower sites at all hours of the day and night (due to outage constrictions) as well, and also at utility electrical pole distribution sites (due to storm outage repairs).

    In the tower work I visited/climbed sites west to the Mississippi, north to the Great Lakes, south to the Gulf Coast, and east to the Atlantic, and again I state that I have seen only a couple bird carcasses that were around or near towers. I personally have great concern for the natural world and the animals but it has never even distantly remarked to me to associate bird deaths with radio towers for this reason.

    At tower sites I have seen birds singly and in flocks of all types and species. This includes lit (strobe and incandescent red-lit) painted and unpainted towers of many different heights to and including the 1247' WSET-TV tower at Thaxton, Virginia and its 800' neighbor. At none of these tower sites have I ever seen the dead birds referred to by the Michigan study or others AT ANY SITE. Maybe their tower sites are special to migratory paths and the many I have worked at are not, or possibly the studies are skewed and contrived. I suspect the latter, and if only for the fact that I have been in the field daily for years in this industry.

    The issue of bird kills associated with towers seems to me from first-hand observation to be a non-issue. This opinion is one that may be lost along with that of my fellow industry workers in the political maneuvering by the Bird-Kill groups who seem to be currently successful in their lobbying attempts to influence the FCC directors to add a new and unhelpful ruling body that addresses tower construction as it relates to and is constricted by bird deaths.

    If it is the intent of those in the FCC who make these decisions to cater to the whims of advocacy groups such as the Bird-Kill lobbyists (or advocates) for the purpose of political correctness and quieting the "squeakiest wheel" this and other real-life based opinions will have no weight in the rule-making decisions.

    However, if those of you in the FCC involved in this issue give proper value to best interests nationally and use your rational and logical processes you can plainly see that the anecdotal body of evidence from those like myself who are at these sites daily is not a conspiracy developed to preserve the industry's status quo but a collation of independent voices of first-hand observations over time that far outweighs the Bird-Kill groups' spurious and penurious blame-placement tactics. The tower industry is the "scapegoat of the day", so to speak, for this issue.

    Maybe there is a need perceived among you in the FCC rule-making body to revise and establish new rules and specifications for radio tower issues. I and probably all the tower industry understands this thought process but I strongly advocate the use of the restraint of logic and reason in your process of rule revision, and that you give proper weight where weight is due to the opinions, both anecdotal and factual, presented to you regards bird mortality data.

    As a taxpayer and citizen I'd like to express my opinion that this is useless and unnecessary Federal spending as it relates to this (non-)issue of avian mortality, and express my objection to the process as it exists presently.

    Finally, having acquired and reviewed a sampling of studies and reports on this event, I feel that the incident of avian mortality due to tower presence may exist, but to a degree that is of minimal impact on bird populations, and certainly far less than alluded to by the petitioning organizations for an FCC ruling amendment, and far less than say, for instance avian electrocution at electric utility lines and highway vehicle impact kills and even most certainly natural animal kingdom predatory events and natural weather effects as well as natural aging deaths.

    I am willing to be contacted by those parties of interest from within the FCC if desired.

    Tim D. Mills

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