Magnetic fields produced by power lines do not affect growth, serum melatonin, leukocytes and fledging success in wild kestrels
Faculty of Sciences. Biology
Comparative biochemistry and physiology : C : toxicology & pharmacology. - Oxford, 2000, currens
, p. 372-376
Nesting on high voltage transmission line towers exposes birds to electric and magnetic fields for long periods. Nestlings are exposed from their development in ovo until fledging. This is a critical period for them because the quality of the developmental environment may affect their fitness at adulthood. We carried out a field study on Eurasian kestrels, Falco tinnunculus, to compare chicks from pairs nesting on high voltage power lines vs. those nesting in control sites in similar habitats. The magnetic field (MF) was measured in each nest-box and analysed in relation to growth curves, melatonin levels, leukocyte counts, and fledging success. None of the variables differed between exposed and control nestlings. Wing length (proxy of age) showed a negative covariation with serum melatonin concentration. Our findings suggest that exposure to MFs produced by high voltage power lines during the embryonic and post-hatching period (until fledging) does not have significant short-term physiological effects on kestrel nestlings.