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Dead Bird Nests Contain 36 Different Pesticides, Including DDT

Dying Baby Birds in Belgium

In 2018, concerned Belgian citizens alerted local ecological organizations about the growing number of dead baby birds they were noticing in their communities. What followed was a study with concerning results regarding pesticides. (1, 2)

Bird conservation association Vogelbescherming Vlaanderen, which means “Bird Protection Flanders” and ecological gardening association Velt received higher than normal reports of dead baby birds in Brussels and Flanders. The organizations began a joint campaign called SOS Mezen. In Dutch, which is the official language of Flanders, mezen means “tit”, another name for “bird”. (1, 3)

The campaign was financially supported by hundreds of Belgians. It called for people to record the deaths of baby birds through the campaign’s website. Thousands of people from Brussels and Flanders responded, reporting more than 4,500 deaths of young birds. (1, 2)

Pesticides in Nests, Including DDT

People also sent in dead birds and nests to be analyzed in a specialized lab. In 89 of the 95 nests that were examined, they found traces of 36 fungicides, herbicides, insecticides, and biocides. One was DDT, an insecticide that has been banned since 1974. (1, 2)

Vogelbescherming Vlaanderen released a statement regarding the results. Geert Grommers, a pesticide expert at Velt, said, “We found a total of 36 different pesticides in 95 mesh nests. That is worrying. Especially since the tits were two weeks old at the most and had never been outside the nest box. ” (4)

Grommers confirmed how concerning it is that they found DDT in so many of the nests. “That DDT is still present in our environment after all this time is worrying,” he said. (4)

The statement suggests that there may be a connection between the baby bird deaths and the use of pesticides to control bug activity in gardens. In particular, gardeners use pesticides to kill boxwood moths, which can do a great deal of damage to growing plants. Some of the pesticides found in the nests were ones used to kill boxwood moths. (4, 5)

While the results seem to point to a connection between pesticides and baby bird deaths in Flanders and Brussels, the organizations say that more research is needed to confirm it. They did, however, find some pesticides that pose a “high” risk for birds. (4)

Support Birds

While some Belgians are surely troubled by the results of the study, SOS Mezen has some advice for making a bird-friendly garden. Since birds eat insects, seeds, and fruit, the campaign suggests bringing all three into your garden and caring for them. (5)

Focus on growing plants that are native to your region. They will offer more benefits to the birds in your area. Plants that produce berries provide food for birds. And planting trees and shrubs of different heights cater to a variety of birds, as each prefers a different height for their nest. (5)

SOS Mezen also advises against using pesticides to get rid of insects, like boxwood moths. In the case of the boxwood moth, they have three alternative recommendations: remove some of the moths by hand and kill them by freezing them, use an organic product rather than a chemical pesticide, or, they write, “accept that your garden is subject to the laws of nature.” (5)

The post Dead Bird Nests Contain 36 Different Pesticides, Including DDT appeared first on Healthy Holistic Living.

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