To: "Charles Hunter via Birding-Aus" <>
Subject: Insecticides
From: "Penny Brockman" <>
Date: Tue, 19 May 2020 12:05:39 +1000
Our rural town of Gloucester has ever since I moved here sprayed in town and 
along streets to kill weeds leaving behind a depressing dead mess that 
eventually is blown away or squashed into dust by vehicles. At the same time we 
still have a very healthy population of House Sparrows. There are 4 sites known 
to me where they breed one close to my house. So far so good.

However no doubt combined with herbicide and insecticide spraying , the 
disastrous effects of the fires which brought heavy smoke to the area December 
January has resulted in a serious decline here in small insectivorous woodland 
birds. I no longer count more than a couple of E Spinebills in the garden, 
Red/browed Finches, whistlers, thornbills, small honeyeaters were also 
seriously reduced in numbers and with winter coming on, we won’t see any change 
until spring. Along the river banks where native vegetation remains things are 
a bit better. These areas were refuges even when water levels were reduced to a 
few puddles of revolting green gunge. 

Many birds took refuge at the coast in unburnt areas. They didn’t return when 
the rains came mid January.  

The other notable effect of the extreme heat was the absence of flies- changed 
abruptly after the rains when they erupted. I’m told due partly to absence of 
dung beetles. 

 Penny Brockman

On Tue, 19 May 2020, at 4:07 AM, Michael Hunter wrote:
>      After an ornithologically sterile month traversing California, a 
> creeping realisation that Mulgoa Valley, once seething with small birds 
> now has far fewer, ditto Avoca on the NSW Central Coast, the penny 
> dropped.
>       INSECTICIDES. are wiping out the base of the food chain in built 
> up and semi rural areas. 
>        Not just for small birds, but all the way up to raptors like 
> Black shouldered Kites and falcons which include insects directly, and 
> indirectly via small reptiles which are largely insectivorous.  
> Honeyeaters eat insects in flowers as well as their nectar.
>        A very obvious example has been the demise of House Sparrows 
> worldwide, although granivorous their young need animal protein, in the 
> form of insects, to develop. Those insects have largely gone due to 
> insecticides, House Sparrow sightings are now rare. My last single 
> sighting was in  Bunnings Gosford Nursery.  ? Significance ?
>         Most Reptiles, most small Mammals, most Amphibians and most 
> Fish need insects.
>           How many Councils spray entire suburbs  for Flies and 
> Mosquitos, unwittingly killing thousands of birds and reptiles.
>          A giant problem. Any suggestions re a longterm solution.?
> "Bring Back the Birds. Ban inorganic and long lasting Insecticides "
> Hoping that this starts a longterm campaigns
> Much more to come.
>               Michael
> Sent from my iPhone
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