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Daily News Blog

03
Jul

Take Action: The Protection of Birds Linked to Mosquito Management

(Beyond Pesticides, July 3, 2023) Mosquito season is upon us, and to many that means spraying pesticides to kill them. But not only is spraying flying mosquitoes the most ineffective way to prevent mosquito problems, it is also counterproductive because it eliminates some of our most attractive and helpful allies—birds.

Tell EPA to eliminate pesticides that threaten birds or their insect food supply. Tell the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Department of Interior to protect birds by eliminating the use of pesticides that threaten them. Tell Congress that EPA and other agencies need to do their job and protect birds and other mosquito predators.

While the appetite of purple martins for mosquitoes is well known, most songbirds eat insects at some stage of their life. Many birds who eat seeds or nectar feed insects to their young, including flying insects that may be bothersome–like mosquitoes or flies. Altogether, birds consume as many as 20 quadrillion individual insects, totaling 400-500 million metric tons, per year.

Mosquito-eating birds include many well-known residents of our communities. They include, for example, wood ducks, phoebes and other flycatchers, bluebirds, cardinals, downy woodpeckers, swallows, swifts, robins, orioles, wrens, great tits, warblers, nuthatches, hummingbirds, red-winged blackbirds, grackles, chickadees, sparrows, nighthawks, and even the much-maligned starlings. Attract these birds to keep mosquitoes from feasting on you.

On the other hand, insectivorous birds are threatened directly by pesticide use and indirectly by the loss of their prey. In 1962, Rachel Carson drew attention to the poisoning of songbirds in her book Silent Spring. Despite restrictions on the organochlorines used in 1962, over three billion birds, or 29% of 1970s numbers have been lost in North America over the last 50 years. Research shows that 57% of bird species are in decline, and mosquito-eating birds lead the list. Ninety percent of all declines were within 12 bird families that include sparrows, warblers, blackbirds, larks, sparrows, swallows, nightjars, swifts, finches, flycatchers, starlings, and thrushes. Only waterfowl and wetland bird species show any increase.

Meanwhile, the world is experiencing an insect apocalypse. Recent research has found dramatic drops in overall insect abundance, with leading entomologists identifying steep declines in insect populations. Various studies have found reductions of up to a factor 60 over the past 40 years—there were 60 times as many insects in some locations in the 1970s. Insect abundance has declined more than 75% over the last 29 years, according to research published by European scientists.

Insectivorous birds are an essential part of global food webs that bring balance to ecological communities, but birds are not the only insectivores to feed on mosquitoes. Animals who contribute to maintaining ecological balance by consuming mosquito larvae and adults include insects, spiders, fish, amphibians, and bats. All are threatened by pesticides.

On a personal level, you can nurture a safe haven for birds and other mosquito predators. Urge your community to adopt safer mosquito management practices. And, remember there are safer personal repellents. See How To Repel Mosquitoes Safely.

Spread the word to your neighbors on safer mosquito management with Beyond Pesticides’ doorknob hanger, Manage Mosquitoes This Season without Toxic Chemicals.

Tell EPA to eliminate pesticides that threaten birds or their insect food supply. Tell the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Department of Interior to protect birds by eliminating the use of pesticides that threaten them. Tell Congress that EPA and other agencies need to do their job and protect birds and other mosquito predators.

Letter to EPA:

Mosquito season is upon us, and to many that means spraying pesticides to kill them. But not only is spraying flying mosquitoes the most ineffective way to prevent mosquito problems, it is also counterproductive because it eliminates some of our most attractive and helpful allies—birds. Most songbirds eat insects at some stage of their life. Many birds who eat seeds or nectar feed insects to their young, including flying insects that may be bothersome–like mosquitoes or flies. Altogether, birds consume as many as 20 quadrillion individual insects, totaling 400-500 million metric tons, per year.

Mosquito-eating birds include many well-known residents of our communities. They include, for example, wood ducks, phoebes and other flycatchers, bluebirds, cardinals, downy woodpeckers, swallows, swifts, robins, orioles, wrens, great tits, warblers, nuthatches, hummingbirds, red-winged blackbirds, grackles, chickadees, sparrows, nighthawks, and even the much-maligned starlings.

On the other hand, insectivorous birds are threatened directly by pesticide use and indirectly by the loss of their prey. In 1962, Rachel Carson drew attention to the poisoning of songbirds in her book Silent Spring. Despite restrictions on the organochlorines used in 1962, over three billion birds, or 29% of 1970s numbers have been lost in North America over the last 50 years. Research shows that 57% of bird species are in decline, and mosquito-eating birds lead the list. Ninety percent of all declines were within 12 bird families that include sparrows, warblers, blackbirds, larks, sparrows, swallows, nightjars, swifts, finches, flycatchers, starlings, and thrushes. Please note the overlap with mosquito-eating birds. Only waterfowl and wetland bird species show any increase.

Meanwhile, the world is experiencing an insect apocalypse. Recent research has found dramatic drops in overall insect abundance, with leading entomologists identifying steep declines in insect populations. Various studies have found reductions of up to a factor 60 over the past 40 years—there were 60 times as many insects in some locations in the 1970s. Insect abundance has declined more than 75% over the last 29 years, according to research published by European scientists.

Insectivorous birds are an essential part of global food webs that bring balance to ecological communities, but birds are not the only insectivores to feed on mosquitoes. Animals who contribute to maintaining ecological balance by consuming mosquito larvae and adults include insects, spiders, fish, amphibians, and bats. All are threatened by pesticides.

The use of pesticides that threaten birds and others who consume mosquitoes is an unreasonable adverse effect on the environment that should lead to the elimination of these pesticides.

Please eliminate the use of pesticides that imperil birds, other mosquito predators, and their insect food supply. At the same time, teach people how to choose safer personal repellents.

Thank you.

Letter to USFWS and DOI:

Mosquito season is upon us, and to many that means spraying pesticides to kill them. But not only is spraying flying mosquitoes the most ineffective way to prevent mosquito problems, it is also counterproductive because it eliminates some of our most attractive and helpful allies—birds. Most songbirds eat insects at some stage of their life. Many birds who eat seeds or nectar feed insects to their young, including flying insects that may be bothersome–like mosquitoes or flies. Altogether, birds consume as many as 20 quadrillion individual insects, totaling 400-500 million metric tons, per year.

Mosquito-eating birds include many well-known residents of our communities. They include, for example, wood ducks, phoebes and other flycatchers, bluebirds, cardinals, downy woodpeckers, swallows, swifts, robins, orioles, wrens, great tits, warblers, nuthatches, hummingbirds, red-winged blackbirds, grackles, chickadees, sparrows, nighthawks, and even the much-maligned starlings.

On the other hand, insectivorous birds are threatened directly by pesticide use and indirectly by the loss of their prey. In 1962, Rachel Carson drew attention to the poisoning of songbirds in her book Silent Spring. Despite restrictions on the organochlorines used in 1962, over three billion birds, or 29% of 1970s numbers have been lost in North America over the last 50 years. Research shows that 57% of bird species are in decline, and mosquito-eating birds lead the list. Ninety percent of all declines were within 12 bird families that include sparrows, warblers, blackbirds, larks, sparrows, swallows, nightjars, swifts, finches, flycatchers, starlings, and thrushes. Please note the overlap with mosquito-eating birds. Only waterfowl and wetland bird species show any increase.

Meanwhile, the world is experiencing an insect apocalypse. Recent research has found dramatic drops in overall insect abundance, with leading entomologists identifying steep declines in insect populations. Various studies have found reductions of up to a factor 60 over the past 40 years—there were 60 times as many insects in some locations in the 1970s. Insect abundance has declined more than 75% over the last 29 years, according to research published by European scientists.

Insectivorous birds are an essential part of global food webs that bring balance to ecological communities, but birds are not the only insectivores to feed on mosquitoes. Animals who contribute to maintaining ecological balance by consuming mosquito larvae and adults include insects, spiders, fish, amphibians, and bats. All are threatened by pesticides.

The use of pesticides that threaten birds and others who consume mosquitoes is not consistent with management of public lands to support wildlife.

Please eliminate the use of pesticides that imperil birds, other mosquito predators, and their insect food supply. At the same time, teach people how to choose safer personal repellents.

Thank you.

Letter to U.S. Representative and Senators:

Mosquito season is upon us, and to many that means spraying pesticides to kill them. But not only is spraying flying mosquitoes the most ineffective way to prevent mosquito problems, it is also counterproductive because it eliminates some of our most attractive and helpful allies—birds. Most songbirds eat insects at some stage of their life. Many birds who eat seeds or nectar feed insects to their young, including flying insects that may be bothersome–like mosquitoes or flies. Altogether, birds consume as many as 20 quadrillion individual insects, totaling 400-500 million metric tons, per year.

Mosquito-eating birds include many well-known residents of our communities. They include, for example, wood ducks, phoebes and other flycatchers, bluebirds, cardinals, downy woodpeckers, swallows, swifts, robins, orioles, wrens, great tits, warblers, nuthatches, hummingbirds, red-winged blackbirds, grackles, chickadees, sparrows, nighthawks, and even the much-maligned starlings.

On the other hand, insectivorous birds are threatened directly by pesticide use and indirectly by the loss of their prey. In 1962, Rachel Carson drew attention to the poisoning of songbirds in her book Silent Spring. Despite restrictions on the organochlorines used in 1962, over three billion birds, or 29% of 1970s numbers have been lost in North America over the last 50 years. Research shows that 57% of bird species are in decline, and mosquito-eating birds lead the list. Ninety percent of all declines were within 12 bird families that include sparrows, warblers, blackbirds, larks, sparrows, swallows, nightjars, swifts, finches, flycatchers, starlings, and thrushes. Please note the overlap with mosquito-eating birds. Only waterfowl and wetland bird species show any increase.

Meanwhile, the world is experiencing an insect apocalypse. Recent research has found dramatic drops in overall insect abundance, with leading entomologists identifying steep declines in insect populations. Various studies have found reductions of up to a factor 60 over the past 40 years—there were 60 times as many insects in some locations in the 1970s. Insect abundance has declined more than 75% over the last 29 years, according to research published by European scientists.

Insectivorous birds are an essential part of global food webs that bring balance to ecological communities, but birds are not the only insectivores to feed on mosquitoes. Animals who contribute to maintaining ecological balance by consuming mosquito larvae and adults include insects, spiders, fish, amphibians, and bats. All are threatened by pesticides.

The use of pesticides that threaten birds and others who consume mosquitoes is an unreasonable adverse effect on the environment that should lead to the elimination of these pesticides.

Please ensure by your oversight that EPA, DOI, and other agencies eliminate the use of pesticides that imperil birds, other mosquito predators, and their insect food supply. At the same time, urge EPA to teach people how to choose safer personal repellents.

Thank you.

 

Share

10 Responses to “Take Action: The Protection of Birds Linked to Mosquito Management”

  1. 1
    Suzanne Torkar Says:

    Please stop using pesticides that are harmful to other insects amd plants or animals as well as !
    Butterflies! Thank you

  2. 2
    Laura Sholtz Says:

    Birds are not the only beings affected negatively by pesticides; humans are as well.

  3. 3
    Cathie Wanner Ernst Says:

    stop with the pesticides for animals and for humans.

  4. 4
    Darla Says:

    Stop using pesticides!

  5. 5
    Tracy Feldman Says:

    We are poisoning away our insects, which we depend on for pollination, healthy soil, and food for birds, etc. Chemical mosquito control is not worth the destruction it does to our ecosystems.

  6. 6
    Kim Sellon Says:

    Please make pesticides and products that harm birds/wildlife that deal with eliminating mosquitoes illegal. PLEASE!

    It only makes sense.

  7. 7
    David F. Whitacre, Ph.D. Says:

    Thank you for your consideration.

  8. 8
    Lynn Ricci Says:

    My heart hopes SO much that the right thing is done so that ALL living can live their life.

  9. 9
    Eric P WOLLSCHEID Says:

    We don’t need mosquitos pestering us.

  10. 10
    Marcelo Vazquez Says:

    Eliminate Pesticides that threatend birds now¡¡¡¡¡¡

Leave a Reply

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