How to view this content

You will need javascript enabled and the Flash browser plugin to access this movie.

Unfortunately we are unable to provide accessible alternatives for this content. If you need help accessing the content in this movie, please email npg@nature.com.

Lost in migration

Electromagnetic noise is emitted everywhere humans use devices. For decades, people have wondered whether this noise is affecting birds' ability to sense the Earth's magnetic field. Migrating birds use their magnetic-sensing compass to help them fly in the right direction.

Now, researchers at the University of Oldenburg in Germany have shown that radio waves affect European robins. Only when the robins are put inside huts that screen out the man-made electromagnetic noise can they position themselves in the right direction.

Read the research paper: Anthropogenic electromagnetic noise disrupts magnetic compass orientation in a migratory bird.

08 May 2014