Bird mortality, toxins and West Nile Virus

lavatera at lavatera at
Tue Jun 5 15:39:51 PDT 2001

Hi tweeters,

Someone sent this to me but did not include the URL. I thought it
might be of interest.

Maxine Centala

> from THE RECORD - TROY, NY., dated June 3, 2001 and entitled:


> KILLING BIRDS by Michael Gormley -- Associated Press.


> DELMAR -- In the fever to test for the West Nile Virus,

post-mortems on

> up to 250 birds a day have uncovered a surprise: More birds are

dying of

> pesticides, herbicides and lead.


> "There are all kinds of side benefits to the West Nile look,"

said state

> wildlife pathologist Ward Stone. "West Nile isn't going to be

growing in

> numbers, but these other numbers will continue to grow."


> In the state fiscal year ended March 31, the basement laboratory

in the

> Five Rivers Environmental Center outside Albany identified 1,263


> carrying West Nile Virus.


> During the same time, 1,953 birds were identified as dying of

toxins from

> pesticides like Dursban, a chemical banned by the U.S.


> Protection Agency; and Diazinon, which the EPA ordered taken off


> market in two years. Lead poisoning is often from the birds

eating prey

> that ingested fishing sinkers or carrion killed by lead shot or



> Stone said some are cases in which chemicals were overused on

lawns and

> in buildings, some are intentional poisonings, but many are the

result of

> birds eating smaller prey with high levels of the material.


> "I was rocked," said Audubon New York's William Cooke of Stone's

> findings. "I had no idea. I don't think anyone did."


> Audubon New York, with 52,000 members, plans radio public


> announcements and a public education program this summer as a

result of

> the data. Cooke urges people to continue to report all dead

birds through

> a toll-free state number (866-537-2473) to keep tracking West


> incidents as well as deaths from toxins.


> "If they're whacking birds, I think it's reasonable to assume


> doing a job on butterflies and others," Cooke said. "What is it

doing to

> our kids?"


> Allen James, president of the national chemical association


> Industry for a Sound Environment, said his group is "sad to hear


> applications are improperly used."


> "There are certain pesticide products if improperly used could

cause the

> death of a bird," he said.


> But James added that the producers of chemicals targeting pests,


> and rodents use labels with instructions on the safe application

of safe

> doses. In addition, the industry in recent years has developed


> of certain color, size and texture that make them unattractive

to birds.

> Indoors, products are being made that can be applied away from

people and

> animals without becoming airborne.


> James also warned that science can detect small amounts of

chemicals now,

> and that detection doesn't necessarily mean the product was



> "The technology of pesticides is improving dramatically," he

said. "And

> there are extreme limits to how these products are used now."


> In New York, the rising trend in toxic deaths is taking


> important species like crows, pigeons and vultures, as well as


> and popular birds such as starlings, great horned owls,

red-tailed hawks

> and loons, as well as the bald eagle that recently made Stone's


> table.


> It was found near death in the Dutchess County town of Pine

Plains at a

> hunt club. The large adult male vomited everything

rehabilitators fed it.

> The eagle, part of an extraordinary Hudson Valley comeback of


> nation's symbol, died extremely dehydrated with feces and bile


> its plumage. The liver had 31 parts per million of lead, more

than four

> times the lethal level, according to the May 30 report.


> The report was one of 10 final determinations made at the lab in


> days of death by toxins. They included a great horned owl found

in the

> Ulster County town of Bearsville with high levels of chemicals

used to

> kill rodents.


> West Nile testing also led to the May 7 determination that a

blue jay

> found dead on a North Hempstead lawn on Long Island died from


> by Chlordane. That pesticide used against termites and lawn

insects was

> also blamed for the death of a Cooper's hawk in Syracuse in

August. West

> Nile testing also identified a new form of botulism that killed


> of birds from Lake Erie.


> "It's more than ever, and it's increasing," Stone said. "The

problem is

> statewide."



> Copyright The Record 2001

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