Second Silent Spring? Bird Declines Linked to Popular Pesticides

Research from the Netherlands shows that neonicotinoid insecticides are killing birds.

Neonicotinoids are aimed at insects, but they're affecting other animals too, study says.

They found that in areas where water contained high concentrations of imidacloprid—a common neonicotinoid pesticide—bird populations tended to decline by an average of 3.5 percent annually.

... neonicotinoids can persist in the soil for years. This gives other growing things a chance to come into contact with and absorb the chemicals.

"So they actually end up in plants that grow on the sides of fields and that were never meant to be targeted," she said.

The new Nature paper shows strong evidence that neonicotinoids are dangerous even if not ingested.

... there are two ways neonicotinoids could be harming the Netherlands' birds.

The first is ingestion.

The second way neonicotinoids can affect birds is by eliminating their food sources. Since these pesticides kill target and nontarget species alike, there are fewer flies, grasshoppers, stinkbugs, and caterpillars for the birds to feast on.

image from the video in this article

Tags: bird mortality, neonicotinoids

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Replies to This Discussion

Thanks for sharing this... it's not "just" an issue of decimating the bee population (and the resulting potential loss of "One of every three bites of food ... from plants pollinated by honeybees and other pollinators" -- including clover and alfalfa that feeds beef and dairy cattle).

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