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Old Tuesday 26th September 2017, 14:50   #1
Purple Heron
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Cell tower radiation harms birds

A while ago I posted an observational study I wrote about declining bird populations in northern Greece. I am posting two studies, one from India and one by Albert B. Manville, who worked for the US Fish and Wildlife Services for many years. USF&W take the issue of cell tower radiation's effect on birds and wildlife quite seriously. Why aren't we taking it seriously in Europe? I also attach an appeal from scientists calling for a moratorium on 5G in Europe.
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File Type: pdf Manville Radiation Briefing Memo-Public.pdf (191.7 KB, 41 views)
File Type: pdf Paper India 2014.pdf (388.0 KB, 20 views)
File Type: pdf EU-5G Appeal240817.pdf (261.4 KB, 24 views)
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Old Tuesday 26th September 2017, 18:33   #2
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All these studies forget that mobile phones are using frequencies that formerly carried high power (in the order of kilowatts) televisión transmissions.

And there are lots of other radio transmissions covering the whole spectrum. For example, radars in more energetic frequencies (10 GHz for instance) also transmit KW powers.

It really doesn’t make sense. Physics doesn’t support it either.
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Old Wednesday 27th September 2017, 13:48   #3
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If you take the time to look into this subject, I think you will find that you are wrong about mobile phone frequencies. It does make sense, and they do cause harm to living organisms.

The Indian study and the appeal were sent to me by Dr Alfonso Balmori, one of the signatories to the appeal. He is a scientist, and has been working on this subject for a long time; he has written a number of excellent studies on the effects of electromagnetic radiation from wireless on birds and wildlife. Since you are also in Spain, maybe you should look him up and talk to him about this. The Manville study was sent to me by Dr. Andres of USF&W--he is also a scientist and I think it's fair to assume he understands the subject.

You are right in one regard: radio, television and radar also send out electromagnetic signals, and of these, radar is the most damaging. There have been studies showing, for instance, that radar signals damage trees in a number of ways, and inhibit growth of seedlings. The problem with modern wireless communications is the signals are ubiquitous--there are so many cell towers that it is becoming very difficult to find places that don't have signal. These days, just about every hill has a cell tower or repeater (in many cases, more than one). Birds can't go somewhere else to escape these signals; they live with them, migrate with them, breed with them. It is hardly surprising that these signals are affecting migration, behavior, reproduction and health. The only surprising thing is that these well-documented effects are being ignored even by birding organizations whose mission is to protect birds and their habitats. Electromagnetic radiation from cell towers causes habitat destruction just as much as pesticides, draining wetlands and cutting down forests.

If you want to find more studies about the effects of electromagnetic radiation, look st the site www.emf-portal . It has a huge database of studies and you can draw your own conclusions. Like you, I did not believe that cell towers and wireless devices could cause so much harm. I changed my mind when I realized that birds were disappearing after local cell towers were upgraded to 4G. Before you object, I was able to exclude other causes for the birds' disappearance such as pesticides, development, hunting etc.
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Old Wednesday 27th September 2017, 14:58   #4
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I did not believe that cell towers and wireless devices could cause so much harm. I changed my mind when I realized that birds were disappearing after local cell towers were upgraded to 4G. Before you object, I was able to exclude other causes for the birds' disappearance such as pesticides, development, hunting etc.
Though you believe you have excluded other causes, there clearly must be other causes at play - if it were simply the the arrival of 4G was wiping out the birds, it would surely be replicated elsewhere. Again, I remind you I live in the most advanced 4G nation in Europe - the type of wholescale reductions that you say you have noted have not occurred here, nor in many other areas such as the UK. Why? Even if 4G is responsible in your area, there must be some other local factors.
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Old Wednesday 27th September 2017, 15:51   #5
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Hi Diana,

Quote:
Originally Posted by Purple Heron View Post
The Indian study and the appeal were sent to me by Dr Alfonso Balmori, one of the signatories to the appeal. He is a scientist, and has been working on this subject for a long time; he has written a number of excellent studies on the effects of electromagnetic radiation from wireless on birds and wildlife.
Just have a look at the diagram on page 10 of this article:

http://buergerwelle.de/assets/files/...hite_stork.pdf

The standard deviation ranges of the two groups overlap solidly.

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Old Wednesday 27th September 2017, 16:50   #6
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Doesn't seem to be hurting Osprey, just the opposite.

http://www.mlive.com/news/flint/inde...oost_from.html
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Old Wednesday 27th September 2017, 17:57   #7
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Also keep in mind that the indian paper you linked to was published in a fake, non-peered reviewed journal that has made several "fraudulent journal" lists. If you can actually supply some peer reviewed science I will be more than happy to take your views seriously
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Old Friday 29th September 2017, 14:34   #8
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@ Jos. First of all, I truly can exclude other causes on Samos. It's an island. Not much changes. I don't know why birdwatchers have so much trouble believing that cell tower radiation affects birds, but any hunter (I have spoken to many of them) will tell you that they have known for years that this is the case. So hunters have observed this cause-and-effect phenomenon for years but birders haven't--it is strange. Second, people are observing this in other places. I correspond with an Irish birdwatcher who has been seeing bird numbers fall since his local tower went 4G about a year ago. He is also observing, as I do, disproportionate numbers of great tits and members of the crow family. As for England, much of it is still 3G and some areas are 2G. The RSPB hasn't taken a position on non-ionising radiation from cell towers, but they are looking into it, according to their conservation director. Bugife UK has started a topic with the EKLIPSE mechanism of the EU focusing on invertebrates. Someone may have started a topic on birds but I haven't checked lately. My point is, there are many people who are aware of the problem even though the problems don't seem to manifest themselves in quite the same way in every place. You say you have not seen a fall in bird numbers where you live, and I don't doubt that. But you also have a fair few great tits, and they are among the birds least affected (for whatever reason) by wireless radiation. Not all species are equally affected and no one knows why. Blackbirds also seem less affected. It's not just a matter of size. Going through my data from northern Greece, I realised that I had seen almost no coots, moorhens or grebes--only great crested grebes in Lake Kerkini but nowhere else. There should have been lots of coots, moorhens, black-necked grebes and little grebes, but they were not there. I can't recall if I have asked you before, but do you know what your area was like before there were cell towers? Are there any records of bird numbers as those towers were upgraded from 2G to 3G to 4G?

@Hauksen. So? It's a diagram. Not world's best but does that change his observations? These days you can measure the amount of radiation with a small handheld device.

@jmepler. Interesting article on the ospreys; they would seem to be one of the exceptions. See my comment to Jos, above. Also, since there is evidence of DNA damage to birds in ovo due to non-ionising radiation, other problems may manifest themselves further down the line.

@Mysticete: I don't think the Indian study is a fake, but you could always do a similar study for yourself and see what results you get. It would be easy to replicate. There are masses of peer-reviewed studies available. Go to https://www.emf-portal.org/en and do a search. Try EMF + birds, EMF + reproduction, EMF + migration --I am sure you can think up other search parameters once you get going. There's also a lot on pub-med, and they also recommend related articles. I'll try to edit my post above to include the observational study I wrote on northern Greece. The last pages link to a number of studies. Did you read the Manville paper? That's a good round-up of the basics, but new studies have come out in the last few months and more work is being done all the time.
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Old Friday 29th September 2017, 14:38   #9
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@ Mysticete. The attached document, an observational study I wrote about bird numbers in northern Greece, has links to many studies at the end.
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File Type: docx Birds & Trees North Greece.docx (77.4 KB, 17 views)
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Old Friday 29th September 2017, 14:59   #10
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@ Jos. Going through my data from northern Greece, I realised that I had seen almost no coots, moorhens or grebes--only great crested grebes in Lake Kerkini but nowhere else. There should have been lots of coots, moorhens, black-necked grebes and little grebes, but they were not there. I can't recall if I have asked you before, but do you know what your area was like before there were cell towers? Are there any records of bird numbers as those towers were upgraded from 2G to 3G to 4G?
Coots abundant here, have been so through all stages of the evolution from 2G to 4G, I cannot say I see any trend of decline. The other species moderately uncommon, though were also before 3G/4G. That said, Moorhens have colonized my wetland (which has three 4G towers adjacent) in the last several years - but this is a single pair, so says nothing very much actually.


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I can't recall if I have asked you before, but do you know what your area was like before there were cell towers? Are there any records of bird numbers as those towers were upgraded from 2G to 3G to 4G?
I recommended in an earlier post that you keep this subject on one thread, rather than start several on the same subject - makes easier to check all previous responses. I answered the question elsewhere.
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Old Friday 29th September 2017, 15:02   #11
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You say you have not seen a fall in bird numbers where you live, and I don't doubt that. But you also have a fair few great tits, and they are among the birds least affected.
I have a fair few of many species, just I have ringing data at my winter feeders concerning my fair few Great Tits, hence the provision of numbers for you with this species.
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Old Friday 29th September 2017, 15:09   #12
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First of all, I truly can exclude other causes on Samos. It's an island. Not much changes.
Things do change on islands. THIS paper for example specifically mentions changes occurring on Samos (not saying they are necessarily responsible for bird reductions, but you cannot truly exclude other causes on the ground that not much changes).
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Old Friday 29th September 2017, 17:39   #13
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Hi Diana,

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@Hauksen. So? It's a diagram. Not world's best but does that change his observations? These days you can measure the amount of radiation with a small handheld device.
The diagram shows Balmori's data has an error margin that is so large that the observed events are virtually indistinguishable from random variation.

If you don't understand what that means for the scientific value of Balmori's study, just show the diagram to a math teacher you trust, and ask him or her for an independent opinion.

Regards,

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Old Friday 29th September 2017, 23:26   #14
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This thread is not as good as Sushil's

http://www.birdforum.net/showthread.php?t=52755
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Old Saturday 30th September 2017, 00:00   #15
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This thread is not as good as Sushil's
http://www.birdforum.net/showthread.php?t=52755
Ah, yes, he provided very good sport indeed. Wonder where he's gone? Not a peep from him since 2013.
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Old Saturday 30th September 2017, 13:25   #16
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@ Jos. Interesting article about Samos and what it says is generally true for the Mediterranean as a whole. Water tables have indeed fallen as a result of development. However, in the time frame that I am talking about, since 2013, we have had a couple of very wet winters, with the others average. Summers are hot, perhaps a little hotter than they were 15-20 years ago, but there has not been a sudden or dramatic increase in temperature. We have not had fires in the areas I am talking about, either. Change in climate is a slow process and, with the exception of events such as large forest fires, you don't see sudden and dramatic drops in bird populations as we have seen here. A slow change in bird numbers would not be so readily apparent as what we have seen here. For instance, we have gone from chaffinches being very common 3 years ago to there being none at all now. There were hundreds of partridges, and now these areas have none. We used to see plenty of birds on migration, but now we hardly get any. And I cannot account for this. A slow change in climactic factors does not explain these sudden disappearances of common birds. So what is left? Cell towers.
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Old Saturday 30th September 2017, 13:29   #17
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@ Hauksen. As you know I am not a scientist. However, if Balmori's study is as flawed as you suggest, why does Manville of USF&W take him seriously and quote these results in his overview? Manville is a scientist, and a highly respected one at that.
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Old Saturday 30th September 2017, 14:28   #18
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So what is left? Cell towers.
In the account you wrote, largely based on observations in 2017 and then comparing with how you remember it 'used to be', you equate the arrival of cell towers to a total environmental disaster, suggesting the towers are responsible for mass tree dieback ('a third of mature pine forests', 'dead trees of almost every type', fruit trees dying, etc), for bringing Egyptian vulture to the verge of extinction, for reducing numbers of everything from owls to waders, for knocking out migrant birds, stating birds cannot breed, abandon nesting sites and cannot migrate properly, you talk of a total absence of birdsong, of no hammering of woodpeckers, of almost no storks, etc, the list is endless.

Pretty disastrous it sounds, especially since you say it has all happened in just two years, late 2014-late 2016. But excuse me for being sceptical, virtually everything you describe isn't happening on a wider scale, and certainly not here in Lithuania which, I remind, has the best 4G network in Europe. Seven species of woodpeckers in my woodland hammering away, virtually everything bar limited numbers of species is a migrant here, still managing to arrive and breed, high abundance of White Storks (can see about eight nests from a single spot on my land, plus three phone towers), no tree die back etc etc.

The account you portray for Samos is not representative for the bigger picture with mobile phone towers - if indeed these declines are taking place (and I would suggest a rather longer timespan is required anyhow) and are due to phone towers, then why are these catastrophic events not occurring in an environment where the phone towers are far more abundant?
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Old Saturday 30th September 2017, 15:16   #19
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its all vague anecdotal data that doesn't try to eliminate any of the innumerable number of variables that could also be responsible for the decline.

And...so what that a USFWS person thinks there is a problem? This is an argument from authority. Clearly US FWS in general doesn't seem to think of this as much of a problem, as I am not aware of any specific programs they have in place looking into or mitigating this damage, versus there and other agencies work on other problems such as climate change, invasive species, bycatch, etc.
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Old Saturday 30th September 2017, 16:21   #20
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Hi Diana,

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@ Hauksen. As you know I am not a scientist. However, if Balmori's study is as flawed as you suggest, why does Manville of USF&W take him seriously and quote these results in his overview? Manville is a scientist, and a highly respected one at that.
I didn't say Balmori's study is flawed. It just doesn't have the statistical basis for any kind of meaningful conclusion.

That's why ornithologists are so obsessed with counting birds again and again over long periods of time ... it's very difficult to be certain of any development without collecting a lot of data first, because there are so many factors that continuously affect the well-being of birds.

I'm not familiar with Manville, but quoting a study with such a weak statistical basis ... well, it's improssible to spin straw into gold.

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Old Sunday 1st October 2017, 13:36   #21
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@ jos. I'm not sure cell towers are more abundant in Lithuania than in Greece. Maybe the opposite. There are about 16 cell towers and repeaters within a five mile radius of where I live. Everywhere I go, if I look around me I can see cell towers in all directions. That's not counting the arrays in town, public wi-fi. So one possibility is that in Greece there are so many towers. The army has its own mobile towers so I imagine they use a different frequency from commercial cell towers. Anywhere within range of Turkey has to contend wit Turkey's 4.5G and Turkish army communications towers as well. It's all electromagnetic frequencies, in any case. With regard to my observations in the north of Greece, they are just that. Obviously there are limitations to what I can do. But there is a decline in numbers, not just this past spring (although I focused on that) but generally: there were a lot more birds 10 years ago than there are now, and if you look at birder guidebooks from 20 years ago, go to places they suggest to find specific birds, you will see that a lot of these birds are not there any more. The change we observed was shocking. I think that other people should be looking into this, and I am in communication with various people in Greece about it: the Hellenic Ornithological Society, the Ministry of the Environment and others. The trouble is, people should have been looking to see what effects cell towers have on birds from the beginning. The Greek representative of the EU LIFE+ program said that they have never looked into this, never collected any statistics with this in mind. So they can neither confirm nor deny that cell towers in Greece are affecting the birds. I can tell you don't believe that bird numbers could decline so dramatically, but they have. I think if what has happened here had happened where you live, you would be concerned, too. And while I know Samos best, I do know other areas of Greece well, and I do see overall declines since 4G came in. Other than contact the Greek ornithologists and authorities, there isn't much else I can do. It's really up to them to investigate further, and I hope they will.

@ Mysticete. "Anecdotal" refers to information that is reported by a third party. "Observational" refers to information as observed by the writer--in this case, me. Do get your terms right. I didn't go to northern Greece and come back saying that everybody told me there weren't any birds there. I went to Northern Greece and reported what I saw. Observation is the backbone of the natural sciences. You may disagree with my conclusions all you like. As for USF&W, I believe they are looking into this. They have not, to date, taken an official position on this issue, but I don't think it's a question of a single person only having a bee in his bonnet,which is what you imply.

@ Hauksen Read my comment to Jos, above. I want the Greek birding organization and Greek authorities to look into this. One of the main reasons I wrote the piece was to get them to do so. Of course there should be counts and recounts. But you have to be looking, and information for all parts of Greece is not always available. As for Manville, why don't you read the piece I posted above and see what he says?
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Old Sunday 1st October 2017, 14:47   #22
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@ jos. I'm not sure cell towers are more abundant in Lithuania than in Greece. Maybe the opposite. There are about 16 cell towers and repeaters within a five mile radius of where I live.
Would doubt tower density is higher in Greece, and certainly 4G coverage is not. Do remember this country has third best 4G coverage in the world (first in Europe) and is 13th globally in terms of 4G speed. 4.5G is rolling out.

16 towers within five miles radius? Can't say I have been out counting them, but there are three within 800 metres of my land, backdrop today to three Black Woodpeckers, three White-backed Woodpeckers, several of both Great Spotted and Middle Spotted Woodpeckers - species you note as having disappeared due to phone masks.


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With regard to my observations in the north of Greece, they are just that. Obviously there are limitations to what I can do. Observation is the backbone of the natural sciences.
For observations to be taken seriously though, it would seem wise to have some methodology - you do not provide reliable numbers of anything before or after the arrival of 4G, just generalizations that there were many before, none or few now.


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One of the main reasons I wrote the piece was to get them to do so.
It reads as sensationalist, rather than factual - plenty of 'we spoke to ... and they think birds have declined since 4G', but a notable absence of balance - why not also include the observations that you are being provided with that seem to contradict the observations in Greece? You mentioned that sparrows seem particularly hard hit by the arrival of 4G, but several have posted that they do not seem to suffer the same in other areas of 4G, even showing signs of increase in some areas that do have 4G. Not worthy of mention?

PS Naturetrek does a tour to Samos every spring - from a quick look at their reports from 2006 to 2016, it seems they continue to find plenty of birds, but perhaps a deeper look might reveal some changes?
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Old Sunday 1st October 2017, 16:24   #23
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@ Mysticete. "Anecdotal" refers to information that is reported by a third party. "Observational" refers to information as observed by the writer--in this case, me. Do get your terms right. I didn't go to northern Greece and come back saying that everybody told me there weren't any birds there. I went to Northern Greece and reported what I saw. Observation is the backbone of the natural sciences. You may disagree with my conclusions all you like. As for USF&W, I believe they are looking into this. They have not, to date, taken an official position on this issue, but I don't think it's a question of a single person only having a bee in his bonnet,which is what you imply.
Anecdotal is indeed the correct description, and doesn't conflict with you having observations. Without solid long-term population numbers for the region before and after the towers come up, it's just anecdotal.

It would not surprise me that you observed a decline of bird numbers in the last 10 years, but there could be dozens of reasons for that, including perturbations in the environment from invasive species, climate change, increased mortality in wintering grounds, changes in land use, etc.
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Old Sunday 1st October 2017, 17:18   #24
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Anecdotal is indeed the correct description, and doesn't conflict with you having observations. Without solid long-term population numbers for the region before and after the towers come up, it's just anecdotal.

It would not surprise me that you observed a decline of bird numbers in the last 10 years, but there could be dozens of reasons for that, including perturbations in the environment from invasive species, climate change, increased mortality in wintering grounds, changes in land use, etc.
Not to mention as a reason, hunters, who when asked are hardly going to say that they think there might be a connection between their activities and reducing bird numbers. A bit of critical analysis of even the anecdotal evidence wouldn't go amiss.

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Old Monday 2nd October 2017, 14:12   #25
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Hi Diana,

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@ Hauksen As for Manville, why don't you read the piece I posted above and see what he says?
Manville declares "[...] this memo very briefly summarizes some of the major studies and take-aways conducted primarily on laboratory animals and wildlife, especially migratory birds."

Apparently, Balmori's meaningless White Stork study in Manville's opinion is one of these "major studies", as he devotes a full paragraph to it - mis-identifying the species as "Wood Storks".

As far as I'm concerned, Manville is no better than Balmori, and Balmori is just wasting my time.

Regards,

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