Analysis of Migrating Bird Collisions with Communication Towers

Federal Communications Commission (FCC)

Analysis of Migrating Bird Collisions with Communication Towers


  • Assembled a team of nationally recognized experts to analyze scientific data on bird collisions.
  • Assisted FCC in condensing comments received in response to a Notice of Inquiry.
  • Provided recommendations to minimize impact on avian populations for future communication towers.

The Avatar Team prepared a highly regarded, state of the art compendium of scientific information regarding the interaction of migratory birds with communication towers. This document, which was prepared under the aegis of the FCC, identified data gaps related to factors affecting collisions with the towers. In addition, the Avatar Team recommended several mitigation approaches to minimize future communication tower impacts.


The FCC contracted Avatar Environmental LLC to review and analyze information regarding the potential impact that communication tower operation may have on migratory birds. Collisions and consequent mortality of migratory birds with communication towers and ancillary structures have been recorded both through observation and anecdotal information and have become an increasing concern as the demand for wireless communication has increased. As part of its regulatory obligations, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is required ”to manage the expansion of the communications infrastructure in a way that best preserves environmental resources.” Avatar assembled a team of nationally-recognized experts and prepared a report that described and documented:

  • The technically supportable information available regarding the number of migratory bird collisions with telecommunication towers
  • The technically supportable information available pertaining to the role that specific factors associated with communications towers may play in the increase or decrease the incidence of such collisions. To the extent information exists, these factors included: tower height, tower support structures, location, lighting, and meteorological conditions.

In addition, the Avatar team has also provided additional support, as needed, in:

  • Reviews of license applications and related filings
  • Consultation in issues related to the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and infrastructure construction
  • Assistance and support on inter-agency and interested-party agreements
  • Support with committees, working groups, meetings et al.
  • General environmental assistance support