The NewYork Times reported on a new study by Canadian toxicologists who found that insecticide use is more strongly correlated with grassland bird population declines than other causes. Grassland birds that live in or migrate through agricultural areas have the greatest population loss of all birds. This includes birds such as sparrows, meadowlarks boblinks, horned larks and owls.
Previously scientists’ had believed that greatest cause of population collapse was the fragmentation and loss of prairie habitat due to converting grasslands to agricultural use. Although habitat loss and fragmentation are significant, insecticide use in farmlands is having an even bigger negative impact on grassland bird populations.
The Environmental Protection Agency is currently reviewing the use of insecticides. Insecticides have been cited as a cause of huge die-offs of European honeybees. There is also outrage by scientists that studies saying the pesticides were safe were funded by pesticide producers.
Read more at: Toxic Threats to Grassland Birds – NYTimes.com.