• Driving Near Recently Sprayed Fields Exposes People to Pesticides
  • Learn To Manage Weeds Without Chemical Pesticides
  • SNAP Display at Event
  • Weeds Can Be Managed Without Chemical Pesticides
  • LIving Near Fields Increases Pesticide Exposure
  • Link to SK Organic Resources
  • Learn About Colony Collapse Disorder and How to Protect Bees
  • Learn to Manage Pests Naturally
  • Grow a Lush Garden Organically
  • SNAP Tour of Organic Vegetable Garden


also see rodenticidesneonicotinoids, neonicotinoids 2, and  mammals, aquatic organismsmixture effects. glyphosate 2

Study Confirms Continued Bird Decline as EPA Fails to Restrict Neonicotinoid Insecticides  (Beyond Pesticides, July 21, 2023)   A comprehensive and scathing report, “Neonicotinoid insecticides: Failing to come to grips with a predictable environmental disaster,” issued by American Bird Conservancy (ABC) in June, lays out the dire consequences of neonicotinoid (neonic) pesticides’ continued use. The report is an update of an earlier review from 2013, which warned of the risks to birds, stating starkly: “A single corn kernel coated with a neonicotinoid can kill a songbird. Even a tiny grain of wheat or canola treated with the oldest neonicotinoidimidacloprid, can poison a bird. As little as 1/10th of a corn seed per day during egg-laying season is all that is needed to affect reproduction with any of the neonicotinoids registered to date.

Intensive farming is biggest cause of bird decline in Europe, study says (The Guardian, 15 May 2023)    Use of pesticides and fertilisers identified as most significant factor behind loss of 550 million birds from skies.  'Farmland species suffered the most precipitous decline, with numbers falling by 56.8% since research began, the study said. Numbers of urban dwelling birds were down 27.8%, and among woodland dwelling birds the fall was 17.7%.  But in all contexts, intensive agriculture, which has been on the rise across Europe, was identified as a major factor in decline, with the mass slaughter of invertebrates as pests creating a “trophic cascade” up the food chain.'

Garden pesticides are contributing to British songbird decline, study finds (Helena Horton, The Guardian, 6 february 2023)   The study was published in the journal ??Science of the Total Environment. 'The experiment, which surveyed 615 gardens in Britain, found 25% fewer house sparrows when glyphosate was used regularly. This is an ingredient found in commonly used herbicide brands such as Roundup or Gallup.   Slug pellets also seemed to have an impact on bird sightings; in gardens where metaldehyde slug pellets were used, house sparrow numbers were down by almost 40%.    Prof Dave Goulson, of the school of life sciences at the University of Sussex, said: “The UK has 22 million gardens, which collectively could be a fantastic refuge for wildlife, but not if they are overly tidy and sprayed with poisons. We just don’t need pesticides in our gardens. Many towns around the world are now pesticide free.”' see also Agricultural Pesticide Use the Primary Driver of Bird Declines in Europe  (Beyond Pesticides, May 19, 2023)

Ingestion of Real-World Pesticide Residues in Grain Threatens Bird Offspring More than Parents    (Beyond Pesticides, September 8, 2022) A study published in Environmental Pollution finds parental exposure to real-world, sublethal concentrations of pesticide residues on grains is a major contributor to unfavorable offspring development among foraging birds. Parents’ ingestion of grains with conventional pesticide residues, whether from contaminated or pesticide-treated seeds, results in chronic exposure that adversely affects offspring health, even at low doses.    However, researchers find that ingestion of low pesticide residues in grain has consequences on reproduction and offspring quality without altering mortality. Chicks whose parents consume grains with pesticide residues are more petite in size, lack proper skeletal growth, and have lower red blood cell counts with increasing body mass index as a trade-off.

Neonic Nation: Is Widespread Pesticide Use Connected To Grassland Bird Declines?   (By Scott Weidensaul, Summer 2022 issue of Living Bird magazine, June 24, 2022)    Good review of effect of DDT and other insecticides on birds with updated data on effects of neonics on birds. Also touches of regulations in Europe and North America and Quebec's novel approach to reducing seed treatment. 

DDT Still Harming Birds of Prey, 50 Years After Its Ban  (Beyond Pesticides, May 31, 2022) 'Fifty years after the banning of DDT, the notorious insecticide is still harming iconic birds of prey along the California coastline. According to research published in Environmental Science and Technology, California condors and marine mammals along California’s coast are contaminated with several dozen different halogenated organic compounds (hazardous, often-chlorinated chemicals) related to DDT, chlordane, and other now-banned legacy chemicals.'

Pesticide Concentration through Metamorphosis Contaminates Birds and Bats   (Beyond Pesticides, April 27, 2022) Pesticides can accumulate in aquatic fly larvae, be retained through metamorphosis, and represent a source of chronic pesticide exposure to birds and bats, according to research published in Environmental Science and Technology earlier this month. ...researchers aimed their study at present use fungicides and herbicides that have not yet undergone similar scrutiny. This includes seven fungicides—azoxystrobin, boscalid, cyflufenamid, fluopyram, tebuconazole, pyrimethanil, and trifloxystrobin—and two herbicides—napropamide and propyzamide. The study notes that formulated end use products, rather than technical grade active ingredients, were used in order to best mimic real world exposure conditions. Exposed midge larvae were then allowed to metamorphosize into adults. After this process, researchers again tested the level of pesticide concentrated in the flies. Adult flies in the medium and high exposure levels all retained pesticides in their bodies, and five of the nine pesticides (trifloxystrobintebuconazoleboscalidpropyzamideazoxystrobin) were also found in adult midges exposed to the lowest treatment levels.   It was determined that roughly 10-94 parts per billion of pesticide per year is moving from aquatic to terrestrial ecosystems as a result of this process. ...the researchers find that bats and birds feeding on contaminated midges could result in low to moderate chronic pesticide exposure. SNAP Comment: There are currently 46 pesticides containing azoxystrobin registered in Canada, 19 containing boscalid, 0 with cyflufenamid, 18 with fluopyram, 57with tebuconazole, 6 with pyrimethanil, 28 with trifloxystrobin, 8 with napropamide and 4 with propyzamide. This research is relevant to Canada. Swallows and especially shorebirds depend on aquatic insects.

Topic: Dr. Pierre Mineau | More powerful insecticides, declining insect populations, and bats. What could go wrong?    Time: Feb 02, 2022 13:30 Eastern Time (US and Canada) Presentation to the Canadian Association for the Club of Rome   Interesting presentation reviewing the history of pesticide registration and ending with direct and indirect effects of pesticides on birds and bats. Link to four background documents on neonicotinoid effects on aquatic organisms, on bats, on birds and  in water.

A Synthesis of Human-related Avian Mortality in Canada
 (Synthèse des sources de mortalité aviaire d’origine anthropique au Canada)
 (Calvert, A. M. et al, Avian Conservation and Ecology, vol 8 no 2, art 11, 2013) This puts bird mortality from pesticides used in agriculture in 6th position with over 1 million birds a year killed. see table 1 and figure 1.

Ecological Mystery Unravels, With Toxic Pesticide Use at the Center   (Beyond Pesticides, May 12, 2021) Earlier this year, a team of scientists solved an ecological mystery that had persisted for decades. Throughout the southeastern United States, bald eagles and other top-level avian predators were experiencing mass deaths from a disease known as vacuolar myelinopathy (VM), a neurological ailment that causes lesions in affected animal’s brains. Now, scientists have determined that the chemical bromine, likely introduced by brominated herbicides in attempts to manage the invasive species, is the trigger for the production of the cyanobacteria’s neurotoxin... Most sources of bromine in a freshwater ecosystem are likely to be added by humans.   The use of a bromide-based product, intended to kill a plant that harbors a bacterium that, in the presence of bromine, produces a lethal neurotoxin is far beyond the scope of any risk assessment conducted by pesticide regulatory agencies.'   SNAP Comment: There are 29 diquat pesticides registered in Canada as of 30 May 2021 but apparently no diquat dibromide.or bistribromide.Diquat ion is considered by PAN as highly hazardous pesticide. . 

Study Finds Eagle Populations Experiencing Widespread Rodenticide Exposure    (Beyond Pesticides, April 21, 2021) 'The vast majority of bald and golden eagles in the United States are contaminated with toxic anticoagulant rodenticides, according to research published in the journal PLOS One earlier this month.   Prior studies have deemed anticoagulant rodenticides “super-predators” in ecosystems for the widespread damage that can result from their use. This is because rodents that eat these chemicals, often contained in toxic baits, do not die immediately. While a rodent is likely to die from this poison, ingesting it also turns it into a sort of poison trojan horse for any predator that may take advantage of its slow decline. An eagle that eats a poisoned rodent at the edge of death will be the next to succumb to the anticoagulant effects of the chemical.   The second-generation anticoagulant rodenticide brodifacoum was the most detected compound in sampled eagles.

Hummingbirds Harmed by Pesticides Killing Off Bees, Butterflies, and Other Pollinators   (Beyond Pesticides, February 23, 2021)  'Well known for their nectar-fueled hovering flight powered by wings beating over 50 times per second, hummingbirds display unique reactions to toxic pesticides. Research by scientists at the University of Toronto finds that hummingbirds exposed to systemic neonicotinoid insecticides for even a short period of time can disrupt the high-powered metabolism of this important and charismatic animal.  Given their high energy demands and with such razor thin margins for error, neonicotinoids may significantly damage hummingbird’s fitness in the wild.' 

The Insect Apocalypse Moves Up the Food Chain: American Bird Populations in Rapid Decline Due to Pesticide Use     (Beyond Pesticides, August 18, 2020) 'Ongoing declines in bird population and diversity are being accelerated by the use of neonicotinoid insecticides, according to research published in Nature Sustainability earlier this month.    Using these models, researchers determined that for every 100kg (220 lbs) increase in the use of any neonicotinoid within a US county, grassland bird populations subsequently decrease by 2.2%, and 1.4% of non-grassland birds die-off. Similarly, 1.6% insect-eating birds are lost, and 1.5% of non-insectivorous species are killed off. Species richness, the number of different bird species in a given area, and species evenness, determined by the relative abundance of different species, also decline as neonicotinoid use increases.   The study acts as a culmination of several threads of ongoing research into the impacts of neonicotinoids on bird populations.'

Farmland Birds’ Exposure to Neonicotinoid-Treated Seeds (during Winter Seeding) Confirmed by Blood Plasma Tests   (Beyond Pesticides, April 16, 2020)  'At the time of this study, clothianidin was the most widely used pesticide on treated winter cereal seeds in the UK.  Thirty-two percent of all surveyed bird species suffered CLO exposure with 15 species of bird consuming CLO-treated seeds, in situ. Researchers detected CLO in 50% of individual blood plasma samples in 10 out of 11 avian species. This study demonstrates the highest logged clothianidin exposure levels for wild birds, thus far.   This study demonstrates that clothianidin toxicity is above foraging birds’ threshold for the no-observed-adverse-effect level (NOAEL).' 

Dead Bird Nests Contain 36 Different Pesticides, Including DDT ( Annie Kin, https://achnews.org, 16 September , 2019) '“We found a total of 36 different pesticides in 95 mesh nests,” Geert Gommers, a pesticide expert said in a statement.' European study of blue Tit babies in nests. Link to original paper. 


Meet pesticides, the silent bird killers that protect our crops (BirdLife International, 9 February 2016)  An article that is still very relevant. Story from Europe and SE Asia. special pesticides called avicides have been developed especially to kill problem birds, they get poisoned from eating treated seeds, many raptors get poisoned from eating poisoned carcasses for other predators such as coyotes. Refers to one study from the Convention on Migratory Species (2014) estimating that pesticides accidentally kill between 0.25 and 8.9 birds per hectare of agricultural area each year. 

Are Neonicotinoids really just the new DDT?  (by Stephen Leahy, DecafNation, Jan 15, 2019)  'In a new study published in the science journal Nature, Dutch researchers linked the steady decline of warblers, skylarks, sparrows, and starlings and other birds to the introduction of imidacloprid, the most commonly used neonicotinoid, in the late 1990s. Regions with the heaviest levels of this nerve poison in soil and water had the biggest declines in bird numbers that eat and rely on insects during the breeding season.'   “Instead of wiping out the top of the food chain, killing hawks and eagles as DDT did, neonics are wiping out the bottom of the food chain,” says Hendrickson.' Plus Canadian product names and statistics, quotes from more studies and regulations.

Study Finds Neonics Result in the Silent Demise of Songbirds  (Beyond Pesticides, September 17, 2019)    'Within six hours, both the ‘low’ and ‘high’ exposure group showed a significant reduction in body mass (3% and 6%, respectively) after a single dose of the neonicotinoid imidacloprid. The ‘low’ exposure group ate 8% less than the control group after dosing, while the ‘high’ exposure group reduced its intake by a staggering 70%. This is an important impact because body weight and fat storage are critical during songbird migration. Birds rest at stopover sites to refuel, and return to flight, but birds in the experiment dosed with imidacloprid stayed on average 3.5 days longer than the unexposed control group.' see also Bee-harming pesticides make migrating songbirds sick too, study shows (CBC, Sep 12, 2019) and Study Finds Three Billion Birds Lost Since 1970: “Early mornings are strangely silent where once they were filled with the beauty of bird song”  (Beyond Pesticides, September 24, 2019) This study was widely covered, even in the regular press. 

Insect Freefall: What Does It Mean For Birds?(Howard Youth, American Bird Conservancy, August 29, 2019)    "Today, the world's most widely used agricultural pesticides are neonicotinoids, neurotoxins absorbed and stored in plant tissues so they repel insect pests. Neonics, as they are also known, are now banned in the European Union because of their impact on honeybees. A number of U.S. states have also introduced legislation attempting to prohibit or limit their use.  Persistent and water-solubleneonics are highly toxic to a broad range of insects and other invertebrates. And they reach well beyond farm fields, leaching into watersheds, rising up in dust, and soaking into soil adjacent to farms, toxifying insect food plants there. Neonics' impact on nontarget terrestrial and aquatic insects is formidable, and long-lasting as well. Depending upon soil and other factors, neonics have half-lives — the time it takes to reduce an amount of the pesticide by half — of up to 1,000 days, or nearly three years.   Although these insecticides are considered less dangerous to many vertebrates than are other pesticides, an ABC study in 2013 determined that a single neonic-coated seed can kill a bird the size of a Blue Jay."   SNAP Comment: not  ALL neonics are not banned in Europe, and only 3 will be taken out of "agricultural use* in Canada but, I believe, still allowed other uses)

Same Pesticides that Are Killing Bees Killed Off Dozens of Goldfinches in Modesto, CA, Study Finds  (Beyond Pesticides, July 17, 2019)   'A March 2017 bird kill incident in Modesto, CA can be traced directly back to an insecticide “soil drench” applied to the base of several elm trees by pesticide applicators hired by the city... Researchers autopsied the birds, finding elm seeds and detectable levels of imidacloprid in the gizzard contents (between 2.2-8.5 ppm) and liver tissue (between 2.1-4.8 ppm) of the affected goldfinches, consistent with the presence of imidacloprid on elm seeds found around soil drenched trees....The City of Modesto indicates that applicators followed the label correctly. Consequently, this incident points to a serious, but not unexpected, shortfall in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) regulation of toxic pesticides.

California scientists consider case of poisoned songbirds  (Brooks Hays, UPI, Science News, June 27, 2019)   The neonicotinoid imidacloprid was used as a drench according to label.

Banned pesticide implicated in 2016 bald eagle poisoning (Dorchester Banner, Jun 29th, 2019)   This US story illustrates a major problem with pesticide regulation. Carbofuran (trade name Furedan) has also been banned in Canada for a while. Unfortunately, in Canada, when a product is federally banned, it is only from sale, not use. Products can be banned from use by provinces, and/or municipalities when there are no pre-emption laws. In fact, pesticide companies usually have sales of the pesticide before the last legal sale date or donate products to groups. A New York area activist mentioned that, after chlorpyrifos was banned in schools, stocks were donated or sold to those looking after school grounds. (Organizing for Local Policy Changes, Beyond Pesticides conference 2019) Somewhat defeating the purpose to protect children, isn't it?  Also filed under legislation/regulatory

Catastrophe' as France's bird population collapses due to pesticides (The Guardian, 21 March 2018)   Dozens of species have seen their numbers decline, in some cases by two-thirds, because insects they feed on have disappeared. 'The primary culprit, researchers speculate, is the intensive use of pesticides on vast tracts of monoculture crops, especially wheat and corn. The problem is not that birds are being poisoned, but that the insects on which they depend for food have disappeared.'

The Same Pesticides Linked to Bee Declines Might Also Threaten Birds    'Neonicotinoids are washing off of their host seeds and into water bodies—threatening not just aquatic insects but the birds that rely on them.'  About U. of S Christy Morrissey, a wildlife ecotoxicologist  and her work on neonicotinoids' effects on aquatic organisms and birds.

Hummingbirds and bumble bees exposed to neonicotinoid and organophosphate insecticides in the Fraser Valley, British Columbia, Canada  (Christine A. Bishop et al., Environmental Toxicology, 05 July 2018)  free access journal.  "the combined concentration of the neonicotinoid insecticides imidaclopridthiamethoxam, and clothianidin detected in hummingbird cloacal fluid from sites near conventionally sprayed blueberry fields was 3.63 ng/mL (ppb). Only piperonyl butoxyde was detected in fecal pellets. Only diazinon was detected in bumble bees (0.197 ng/g), whereas diazinon (1.54–1.7 ng/g) and imidacloprid (up to 18.4 ng/g) were detected in pollen collected from bumble bees"

'On life support:' Research shows common pesticides starve, disorient birds  (National Post, 9 November 2017) SNAP Comment: Another great study from Christy Morrissey at University of Saskatchewan.Low dose studies are typically not required for pesticide registration, and neither are behavioral studies. Looks like she is now on the radar of CropLife Canada. I wish her the best!    "Morrissey studied the effect of two widely used pesticide types — neonicotinoids and organophosphates. Both are used on more than 100 different crops, including wheat and canola, and are found in dozens of commercial products. Both are known to be lethal to birds in large doses, but Morrissey wanted to study the impact of smaller amounts. The results were dramatic. After three days, the low-dose birds lost 17 per cent of their weight. The high-dose birds lost 25 per cent.   The birds exposed to organophosphates kept their weight, but they lost something else — their ability to find northBoth the high-dose and low-dose group lost all orientation and didn’t get it back after the tests ended. The neonics also disoriented the sparrows, but the effect faded when the exposure stopped.

The Same Pesticides Linked to Bee Declines Might Also Threaten Birds  (Elizabeth Royte, Audubon, Spring 2017)      Neonicotinoids are washing off of their host seeds and into water bodies—threatening not just aquatic insects but the birds that rely on them. In Canada, neonics are used on 44 percent of cropland, including some 21 million acres of canola, the nation’s second-most-cultivated crop. But their delivery system has a major flaw. “Only about 5 percent of the compound is taken up by the plant,” Morrissey says. The rest leaches off the seed, accumulates in soil, and sluices via snowmelt, rain, and groundwater seepage into ponds and wetlands, where insects like midges and caddis flies—a staple for billions of grassland birds—start their lives. All about the research of Christy Morrissey, a wildlife ecotoxicologist at the University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon.  With a small army of students, Morrissey designed a Hydra-like research program that is exploring, piece by piece, how neonics move from farm fields to waterways, how they affect the invertebrates that live there, and how these aquatic insects—their abundance, diversity, and health—in turn affect birds.

Pesticide ban: New evidence shows 'strong case' for ban on chemicals linked to bird and bee deaths   (Ian Johnston,  Independent, 11 January 2017)  ...one study found red-legged partridges fed seeds treated with one neonic died within days. Other researchers found house sparrows became “uncoordinated and unable to fly” and Japanese quail suffered DNA damage after being exposed to the pesticides. “Whatever shape Brexit will take, this is an early test of whether the UK government is willing to stand up for nature and the common good in the face of heavy lobbying from corporations and vested interests.”SNAP comment: Neonics started as seed coatings but their use has extended to sprays over the years on more and more crops. Canada is currently reviewing one neonicotinoidimidaclopridConsultation on Imidacloprid, Proposed Re-evaluation Decision PRVD2016-20

Mosquito spray affects bird reproduction (Nature, 15 June 2010) doi:10.1038/news.2010.296, Natasha Gilbert) House martin numbers hit by 'environmentally friendly' insect control. The effect of Bacillus thuringensis israelensis on House Martins ( a European swallow) is indirect. It is apparently so effective at reducing mosquito populations that birds had to switch food source to ants which are seemingly less nutritious.

Pesticide Blamed for Deaths of Hundreds of Wild Birds (Beyond Pesticides, March 12, 2014) As many as 700 birds have been found dead in a wildlife reserve in New South Wales, Australia. Preliminary tests reveal the pesticide, fenthion. Certain uses of fenthion for home

Not Just the Bees: Bayer's Pesticide May Harm Birds, TooBy Tom Philpott. Mother Jones. Wed Mar. 27, 2013 3:00 AM PDT

Pesticide Acute Toxicity Is a Better Correlate of U.S. Grassland Bird Declines than Agricultural IntensificationPierre Mineau, Mélanie Whiteside ( Environment Canada)  on PLOS ONE (eISSN-1932-6203) is an international, peer-reviewed, open-access, online publication.

The Impact of the Nation’s Most Widely Used Insecticides on Birds. Neonicotinoid Insecticides and Birds. by Dr. Pierre Mineau and Cynthia Palmer. American Bird Conservancy, March 2013. 'However, based on chronic/reproduction endpoints, all seed treatments are predicted to cause effects given the very small number of seeds needing to be ingested to push birds into critical range.’ (less than 1 kernel of corn, 1.46 to 15.83 canola seeds and 1.28 to10.55 kernels of wheat respectively for imidacloprid and thiamethoxam, clothianidin having middle values). Mason and colleagues (2013) postulate that many of the severe epizootic diseases that seem to arise with alarming frequency result of immune suppression resulting from low level exposure to neonicotinoids.

More on neonicotinoids at http://www.snapinfo.ca/issues/bee-die-off,  http://www.snapinfo.ca/info/fact-sheets and water/Saskatchewan