"Alarm As Pesticides Spur Rapid Decline Of US Bird Species"

"Popular pesticides are causing bird species to decline at an alarming rate in the US, adding fuel to a 50-year downward trend in bird biodiversity, a new report has found.

In addition to spray-on pesticides, farmers are widely using chemicals that coat seeds. These pesticides, called neonicotinoids or neonics, deter insects as the seeds sprout and as they grow into plants.

According to a study published in Nature Sustainability, the increased use of neonicotinoids is putting bird species at risk across the US as the chemicals manifest in the stalk, nectar and pollen of plants.

Madhu Khanna, a study co-author and associate director of research at the Institute of Sustainability, Energy and Environment at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, said a 100kg increase in the use of this seed-coating pesticide in one US county was linked with a 2.2% decrease in grassland birds."

Valerie Yurk reports for the Guardian August 10, 2020.

Source: Guardian, 08/11/2020