Ionizing radiation has been shown to produce negative effects on organisms, although little is known about its ecological and evolutionary effects. As a study model, we isolated bacteria associated with feathers from barn swallows Hirundo rustica from three study areas around Chernobyl differing in background ionizing radiation levels and one control study site in Denmark. Each bacterial community was exposed to four different γ radiation doses ranging from 0.46 to 3.96 kGy to test whether chronic exposure to radiation had selected for resistant bacterial strains.