Lawn Birds

Are We Poisoning Our Birds?

We are killing birds with kindness. We put out bird feeders to lure them into our gardens, but the pesticides we use to care for our lawns and gardens are lethal. Homeowners should think twice before engaging a chemical company or buying chemicals and personally applying them to their lawns. Medical records indicate that pets and people, especially children, suffer from ailments in places of high-pesticide use.

In trying to understand the West Nile Virus in the summer of 2000, Officials of New York State discovered that West Nile, which appeared in 14 people out of 18 million state-wide, was not nearly the threat first imagined. They discovered that the real danger was from pesticides. As a result they have recommended that New Yorkers reconsider how they care for their lawns and families. As part of the effort to monitor the virus last year, the state asked counties to report on bird deaths. Of the more than 80,000 birds turned in at state request, only a few thousand died from West Nile. The single leading cause of death among these birds was pesticide poisoning, from chemicals used on lawns for aesthetic reasons. Diazanon, Dursban and other compounds used for lawn and garden care in the attempt to control grubs, fungus and weeds. Citizens who labour for the perfect lawn also keep backyard bird feeders. They are apparently unaware of the conflict between the two pursuits. Birds are “indicators” of environmental perils. They warned about DDT in the 1970s. Now they’re warning us that it’s time we kicked the pesticide habit, for their sake and our own.

From article passed to us by Great Lakes Laboratory, Fisheries and Oceans Canada

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