Songbirds Negatively Affected By Fracking Noise Should Not Surprise

Recent findings by Penn State researchers will not surprise victims of fracking gas compressor noise.

The loud, low-frequency noise emitted by natural gas compressor stations travels hundreds of yards into undisturbed areas. Co-author Julian Avery

The research demonstrates negative, physiological effects on birds from fracking compressor station noise in Pennsylvania.

The findings, recently published in Ornithological Applications, demonstrate that compressor noise caused behavioral changes that led to reduced reproductive success for eastern bluebirds and tree swallows.

Anyone who has seen the “blue-blur” of an eastern bluebird in flight on a summer afternoon or the graceful flight of a tree swallow just before dusk will lament yet-another serious problem associated with fracking. Both bluebirds and tree swallows also help control insect populations such as disease-carrying mosquitoes, so decreased birds may foretell increased ZIKA and other disease.

The noise research on birds may parallel similar negative health effects from noise on humans including human reproductive impairment and miscarriages attributed to noise exposure. (E.g., research by NIH.)

Unfortunately for Pennsylvanian’s, the research suggests that Pennsylvanian’s and Pennsylvania natural resources are amidst a disturbing experiment with real, negative effects and significant unknowns.


Thanks to the PA Environmental Digest for the tip.

Bluebird Photo Ken Thomas, public domain.