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IdahoEv
September 14th, 2007, 01:14 PM
My sister and I are trying to identify a certain short story we read in Analog many years ago. We can't remember author or title, or exactly when we read it, but it was proably late 1980's or early 1990's.

In this story, a space launch of a new vehicle (which uses some kind of SF tech launch system, i believe involving magnetic forces) at cape canaveral in Florida kills millions of birds by screwing up their navigational instincts. This causes much consternation because of course the launch tech was extensively tested and appeared to pose no threat to wildlife.

However, the reason it caused a problem this time was because it turns out that the birds had two redundant systems for maintaining orientation: a magnetic system (which was disrupted by the launch) and an evolved sensitivity to a laser being continuously emitted from a nearby star by an ET civilization trying to contact the Earth. Just prior to the launch, the ET civilization gave up on contacting Earth after many years and turned off the laser for budget reasons. The sudden loss of this extra reference point made the birds susceptible to intereference from the launcher's magnetic drive.

It was a very entertaining story, but alas we have no memory of who wrote it. Any help much appreciated...
Thanks!