Due to reductions in winter food resources, newly sown cereal seeds have become a key component of many bird species’ diet, but these seeds are often treated with pesticides that may cause toxic effects. We studied the abundance of pesticide-treated seeds available for birds in the field, the pesticides and their concentrations in treated seeds, and the bird species observed in the field that were feeding on these pesticide-treated seeds.
Potential detrimental impacts of neonicotinoids on non-target organisms, especially bees, have been subject to a wide debate and the subsequent ban of three neonicotinoids by the EU. While recent research has fortified concerns regarding the effects of neonicotinoids on ecosystem service (ES) providers, potential impacts have been considered negligible in systems with a relatively small proportion of arable land and thus lower the use of these pesticides.
The analysis of 616 papers about the diet of the European Barn Owl Tyto alba showed that 9678 invertebrates were captured out of 3.13 million prey items (0.31%). The consumption of invertebrates strongly decreased between 1860 and 2012. The present study demonstrates that the diet of a predator changed to a large extent during the last 150 years probably due to the negative impact of human activities on biodiversity. Bats and birds are less often captured nowadays than in the past.
ONE of the UK’s most widespread butterflies is in a state of significant decline. The Small Copper, which can be spotted in Dorset, has suffered its worst year on record, according to a study. The annual UK Butterfly Monitoring Scheme (UKBMS) found the number of Small Coppers fell by almost 25 per cent last year compared to 2014. The UKBMS said 34 of the 57 butterfly species monitored experienced declines. The Heath Fritillary, one of the UK’s scarcest species, also suffered its worst year on record with numbers down 16 per cent compared to 2014.
Hen harrier (Circus cyaneus) numbers in Ireland are continuing to decline, according to the results of a new survey. The number of breeding pairs has also declined even within special areas of conservation set up to protect the bird. The 2015 survey showed there are between 108 and 157 breeding pairs across Ireland, down by 8.7 per cent since the 2010 survey, the research team said.
Householders waiting for the return of house martins (Delichon urbicum) may be in for disappointment this year. Research shows that the number of pairs breeding in the South West is in decline. The birds usually return to their nesting sites under the eaves in April and May after a long migration from winter feeding grounds in Africa. They are widely regarded as a harbinger of spring and in long, warm summers, may even go on to have a second brood.
Scientific experts, from both sides of the endocrine debate, have agreed a “consensus statement” on identifying endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs), which will be passed to the European Commission to support its work compiling regulatory criteria. Chaired by Dame Anne Glover from Aberdeen University, 23 scientists, including Andreas Kortenkamp from Brunel University and Alan Boobis from Imperial College London, achieved a “breakthrough in the scientific discussion”, says the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR), which hosted the meeting in Berlin on 11-12 April.
Many insects are considered to be pests by humans. However, insects are also very important for numerous reasons. Insects can be found in every environment on Earth. While a select few insects, such as the Arctic Wooly Bear Moth, live in the harsh Arctic climate, the majority of insects are found in the warm and moist tropics. Insects have adapted to a broad range of habitats, successfully finding their own niche, because they will eat almost any substance that has nutritional value. Insects are crucial components of many ecosystems, where they perform many important functions.
Evidence has been mounting that the U.S. Department of Agriculture has been silencing its own bee scientists who have raised the alarm about the deadly impact that pesticides, particularly neonicotinoids, have on bees. Last month, for example, the Washington Post reported the story of Jonathan Lindgren, a USDA bee scientist, who filed a whistleblower suit alleging that he was disciplined to suppress his research. In 2014, Dr.
The Grey Partridge (Perdix perdix) was once the most widespread and heavily exploited game bird in the UK; its historic fondness for grassy steppe habitats allowing it to adapt readily to cultivated ecosystems. Indeed, during the 18th and 19th century, aided by an increase in arable farming, land enclosure and widespread predator control the partridge population expanded considerably. So much so that between 1870 and 1930, upwards of two million Grey Partridge were shot in the UK each year.