What is happening to our songbirds?
I have written various posts on the decline of species. Two of my posts are about the importance and decline of bees. In another post, I wrote on the decline of insects in general. One of the main reasons for this decline is the large scale use of pesticides and the destruction of nature as a whole. The natural and healthy habitat of insects has diminished at an alarming rate.
75% of songbirds are in decline
I received a newsletter from Friends of the Earth Action and it contained some alarming news. 75% of songbirds are now in decline. It is sad but not a surprise, as everything is related. Songbirds eat insects, so when this food source is reduced due to insecticide use, the bird population must inherently decline.
In addition to the decline due to the lack of their normal food source, those birds that do survive have likely consumed insects that have been in contact with neonicotinoid pesticides, contributing additional harm the bird population.
In springtime, those big industrial farms treat their crops with products we know are harmful. This is also the time when migratory birds pass on their travel from south to north. For these small animals coming in contact with neonicotinoid pesticides fabricated by Bayer-Monsanto, it can be fatal or cause significant weight loss and delay their migration. The poor bird is not in its best health to make long voyages and it chance to survive and produce a family is greatly reduced.
Governments are not doing enough
We are on the brink of many dangerous changes but it seems that governments and their leaders are putting a deaf ear to the calls for change. In general, the public is not informed, but scientists are warning that a catastrophic collapse of natures ecosystems is imminent. Everything is related and when, somewhere along the line, huge gaps are created, everything and everybody will suffer the consequences.
My cousin in Holland participated in a European study counting the birds in her garden. She told me there were a lot less in these last years, compared to 10 or 20 years ago. In the 1960s birds were used as indicators to see how healthy the environment was. DDT had already been used for many years since it was cheap. Slowly but surely one started to realize it was damaging the fauna.
First, one thought it was mainly impacting the big birds but later, one realized it was also affecting the smaller songbirds. In 1972 it was banned by the EPA, the Environmental Protection Agency so it was no longer legally used as an insecticide in the U.S. It can still be manufactured in the U.S. and sold internationally, but the main producers of DDT are India, North Korea, and China.
The banning of DDT was a good idea of course, but do not think that suddenly fauna and flora recuperated from this onslaught of chemicals. Man is so wise and continues spraying stuff like Roundup, which is even worse. That is why bird populations are still in decline, as their habitat and food supply have been significantly impacted.
We now know that pesticides are not good for nature. Birds will eat poisoned insects and over time, the population will decline. Additionally, when these chemicals are applied to the fields, they can and have reached water sources. Whole flocks of bird might die because of drinking this water. Support your local farmers who use organic techniques and keep the fields clean.
The various reasons why birds might die
I came across a nice post from Melissa Mayntz, in which she explains the different factors that contribute to the decline of bird populations, be it individually or many together. One does not hear much about it yet, but modern technology will be an important factor.
The collision of birds with these modern inventions, like wind turbines, electrical wires, and radio towers, are often the cause of injury or death. Then one should not forget that EMF radiation disturbs the natural patterns and animals get confused. They can not find their way anymore and get lost.
5G is not good for anybody
When an experiment was made in Holland (2018) with 5G technology, hundreds of birds fell dead from the sky. Another case was when large cow farms in the same area, reported hysteric behavior of the animals when 5G was tested. This incident happened in the north of Holland.
In Switzerland, tests were performed by introducing EMF radiation to beehives and all hell broke loose, ending with the demise of all the colonies. There you see, nature does not like this modern technology.
A change in temperature can affect birds
A sudden cold wave might harm especially small birds. When you make a place in your garden where they can find refuge and have a supply of food which has a high oil content, it will help them to survive. The same applies to heatwaves. They need shady and protected places and clean fresh water.
A special thought must go to the migrating birds which fly long distances. If they do not find clean food and water during their journey they might die from exhaustion and never reach their destination. One should support the preservation of natural parks and wet areas and keep the cutting of trees and eroding of the forests to the minimum.
Some dangerous illnesses
There are various bird diseases like avian botulism, West Nile Virus and avian influenza. These illnesses can have a big impact on the bird population. On a private level, you can help to not spread these diseases by keeping their feeding places clean. Whenever you spot sick birds, it is a good idea to report this to the appropriate officials in your town.
The feeding of ducks who live in the pond of the local park is not a good idea, as that can spread botulism. It is also important to keep the birdhouses clean before and after the nesting season to avoid parasites like ticks and mites.
Pollution presents a big danger to birds
Another factor is all the men-made pollution, be it oil spills or plastic. Fauna and flora suffer and one should not forget that because of us, hundreds of thousands of birds die every year. Climate change is coming up with more and stronger storms, many of which reach hurricane strength. These hurricanes will destroy the nesting habitats of shorebirds and waterfowl. You can imagine that a small songbird has no chance to survive a storm like that.
Birds have natural enemies as well. Just think about your dear cat and dog. Furthermore, there are things that live in the wild, like snakes, rats, and raccoons. If you can, keep a certain place in your garden secure from these predators and take care that the birdhouses are safe for nesting.
Birds form part of creation and have an important place in the ecosystem. Perhaps you have read the book Silent Spring? It was written by Rachel Carson and published on September 27, 1962.
Many years have passed since that warning but our springs have become more silent every year. We are the ones responsible for the decline of songbirds. We still do not seem to understand that we have the responsibility to care for the environment including all of its inhabitants.
Source: Friends of the Earth Action, Melissa Mayntz and her article Causes of Bird Die-Offs 20 June 2019 for The Spruce
Photo Source: Pixabay
When humans interfere it often causes an imbalance that affects everything. In the following post, you can read about such a happening. Luckily the mistake was understood and by reintroducing the missing specie balance was restored again. This particular case is a good example of what we should not do.