- Muttonbirds affected by Fukushima – researcher (New Zealand Herald, April 30, 2012):
The meltdown of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant may be responsible for a decline in New Zealand’s muttonbird population.
A Department of Conservation study found only two-thirds of birds returned to an area near Auckland, after spending the northern summer in Japan – some only 20km from the plant, which was crippled in Japan’s earthquake and tsunami in March last year.
- How contaminated a bird is in Fukushima (Fukushima Diary, April 29, 2012):
Prof. Mori of Tokyo university took a picture of a bush warbler in Fukushima by autoradiography.
It took one month to capture the radiation from cesium 137.
The bush warbler was found dead in Iidate mura last December.
This photo was taken from the stomach of the bird. Black spots in the wing parts show radioactive particles stuck to the wings.
The ones in the body parts show the radioactive particles taken into the body.
Biological concentration is assumed to have happened through contaminated worms.
A year after Fukushima, the government has asked residents to bury radiated soil in their own backyards. But how dangerous is the dirt and where should it go? NBC News Chief Foreign Correspondent Richard Engel reports.
- Fewer female birds after Chernobyl, study finds; same true at Fukushima? (MSNBC, April 19, 2012):
Scientists are focusing on Japan’s Fukushima area after a study published this week found an alarming development at another nuclear disaster site – Chernobyl.
The proportion of female birds has fallen off since the 1986 disaster at Chernobyl, the study found, and that appears to be causing male birds to increase their chirping in efforts to find a mate.
“The Chernobyl zone is a population sink, or an ecological trap, that brings in new birds each year but these birds suffer lower survival,” co-author Tim Mousseau, a University of South Carolina biologist, told msnbc.com.
“In other words,” he said, “the Chernobyl zone is not an eden for wildlife” as some have claimed.
Mousseau, who’s leading a team along with Anders Pape Moller of the University of Paris-Sud, is now in the Fukushima area preparing to test birds there for radioactivity from the nuclear reactors hit by the tsunami after the March 11, 2011, earthquake.
NBC’s Richard Engel visits the exclusion zone surrounding Japan’s damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.
“We will be placing small dosimeters on birds and measuring body content of radionuclides,” he said. That will also be done this summer around Ukraine’s Chernobyl area, where earlier testing focused on counting birds.
For the Chernobyl study “we collected 1,080 birds using mist nets in forested areas that were highly contaminated but also in areas that were effectively ‘clean’ and sites in between,” Mousseau explained.
“In the more contaminated areas, most birds were yearlings, suggesting that survival rates were significantly lower in these areas than in clean ones.”
- Bird numbers plummet around stricken Fukushima plant (The Independent, Feb. 3, 2012):
Researchers working around Japan’s disabled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant say bird populations there have begun to dwindle, in what may be a chilling harbinger of the impact of radioactive fallout on local life.
In the first major study of the impact of the world’s worst nuclear crisis in 25 years, the researchers, from Japan, the US and Denmark, said their analysis of 14 species of bird common to Fukushima and Chernobyl, the Ukrainian city which suffered a similar nuclear meltdown, showed the effect on abundance is worse in the Japanese disaster zone.
- Video of Birds That Don’t Fly, in June 2011 Somewhere in Fukushima (Ex-SKF, Jan. 4, 2012):
A video posted by a resident somewhere in Fukushima Prefecture in June last year shows two birds in his/her front garden unable or unwilling to fly even when approached by a human.
The video was uploaded by MAYODORA in June 2011; it was posted at GeorgeBowWow’s blog on December 23, 2011 (his blog is in Japanese only). GeorgeBowWow thinks the birds may be affected by radiation. The bird (bulbul) in the beginning of the video dropped from the persimmon tree, MAYODORA writes in the Youtube description of the video. MAYODORA says he/she measured radiation on the bird with his/her survey meterand it was rather high.
No information as to what happened to those birds afterwards.
Clearly the comment section of the video on Youtube was trashed, and commenting has been disabled.
Jan. 24 (Bloomberg) — Japan is culling about 410,000 chickens at a farm in the southern prefecture of Miyazaki as avian influenza spreads to the nation’s second-biggest growing region for poultry.
The government is taking measures to contain the disease as the H5 flu virus has been detected in chickens found dead in the farm in Shintomi town, about 8.5 kilometers (5.3 miles) from where the first flu outbreak this year was confirmed, according to the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries. Officials in Miyazaki culled more than 10,000 chickens on Jan. 22 after six out of 36 chickens found dead at a separate farm tested positive for influenza.