Combinations of 36 different pesticides found in thousands of dead birds’ nests
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    Combinations of 36 different pesticides found in thousands of dead birds’ nests

    Credit: © Belga

    A crowdsourced probe launched to determine what had killed thousands of newborn birds in Flanders and Brussels revealed traces of more than 30 different pesticides inside the chicks’ nests, the study showed.

    “We found a total of 36 different pesticides in 95 mesh nests,” Geert Gommers, a pesticide expert said in a statement released with the results.

    An analysis of the birds’ nests revealed traces of fungicides, herbicides, insecticides and biocides, with the researchers expressing alarm after they found traces of DDT, an insecticide banned since 1974, in 89 of the 95 nests examined.

    “That DDT is still present in our environment after all this time is worrying,” the statement read.

    Both organisations expressed serious concerns over the findings, saying they were worrying given the birds’ young ages.

    “The tits were two weeks old at the most and had never been outside their nest,” Gommers wrote.

    Carried out jointly by bird conservation association Vogelbescherming Vlaanderen and ecological gardening association Velt, the study stems from a campaign called “SOS Mezen” (tit in Dutch).

    The campaign called on people to flag discoveries of dead tits via the website, and thousands of residents in Flanders and Brussels responded, reporting 4,500 tit deaths.

    “These results do not make us happy, especially because almost all nests contain one or more pesticides,” Gommers’ statement continued.

    While the organisations said the results were “worrying,” they said further research needed to be carried out to establish a link between increased tit mortality and pesticides, noting that some of the pesticides found in the nests had a “high” risk rating for birds.

    Gabriela Galindo
    The Brussels Times