Declining Grassland Birds & Pesticides

Grasshopper Sparrow Photo: Nick Saunders

Grasshopper Sparrow Photo: Nick Saunders

A new paper by Canadian scientists Pierre Mineau and Mélanie Whiteside identifies pesticide toxicity to birds as an important factor in grassland bird declines. “Pesticide Acute Toxicity is a Better Correlate of U.S. Grassland Bird Declines than Agricultural Intensification” was recently published in the peer-reviewed, open-access online journal PLOS One. The study found that acutely toxic pesticides (rather than habitat loss) were the most likely leading cause of the widespread population declines of grassland birds in the United States. “The data suggest that loss of birds in agricultural fields is more than an unfortunate consequence of pest control; it may drive bird populations to local extinction,” said Dr. Mineau in a related American Bird Conservancy media release. To read the full article ,select this link.

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