[Tweeters] Pesticides and Birds- A perilous Mix

Liz Hemberry lizhemberry at hotmail.com
Mon May 19 16:36:20 PDT 2014


Your article states that pesticides kill 67 million birds
per year. You provided a link to the WDFW to substantiate this figure. However,
when I went to the site there wasn’t a mention of a single bird dying due to
pesticides. The reason I ask is because I am a commercial grower of pears with
orchards located in Dryden, Cashmere, Bridgeport and Brewster. I am also the
General Manager of Peshastin Hi-Up Growers which is a cooperative that
receives, stores, packs and ships an average of 53 million pounds of fresh
pears per year. I am also an avid birder.

I have not seen sick or injured birds in any of our
orchards. We have found two deceased songbirds in our yard this year which I am
confident were victims of our pet cat. Another link that you provided was from
an organization called Defenders of Wildlife. Their link stated that,
“pesticides are indiscriminate killers.” I can assure you that in the case of
the tree fruit industry this is a false statement. Pesticides have been in a
constant state of refinement over the past several decades. Products that were indiscriminate
have been replaced by ones that are highly selective. This accounts for the
increase in the number of pounds that are applied today vs. what was applied in
the past. In the past, we applied pesticides that killed a host of insects with
a single application. Now, we apply more frequently at lower rates with a rotation
of products which results in more pounds of pesticides being applied but also
in a manner that increases safety for both people and wildlife.

You raise concerns about pesticides entering into bodies of
water. These are valid concerns. I would like to point out that every pesticide
registered in the State of Washington comes with an attached label. The label,
which is a legal document, contains warnings and restrictions. Products that
are toxic to fish and aquatic organisms will state that it is prohibited to
apply within a certain amount of feet next to the water. Failure to comply with
the label is against the law. Pesticide applicators must pass a test and
undergo continuing education. As you go on to point out there have been 15
reports of potential instances of spray drift so far this year. If those who
have been accused are found to be at fault by WSDA they will be subject to
fines and possible suspension of their license. Those who travel to Eastern
Washington will see growers applying sprays with a hand gun to avoid drift. The
fact that a very few choose to apply pesticides in an irresponsible manner
should not cast the rest of us in a poor light. After all we wouldn’t blame all
of those who operate motor vehicles because a very few choose to drink and

In conclusion, I would like to assure you that pesticides
and their use is constantly changing to reduce risk to man and wildlife. Ken HemberryLeavenworth

> Date: Mon, 19 May 2014 07:50:42 -0700

> From: clsouth at u.washington.edu

> To: tweeters at uw.edu

> CC:

> Subject: [Tweeters] Pesticides and Birds- A perilous Mix


> For those of you who want some good links to how pesticides kill and/or impair birds, read my latest article in the Shoreline Area News. There are three links going to good bird organizations, plus the latest news on pesticides and human sickness in WA.


> http://www.shorelineareanews.com/2014/05/for-birds-pesticides-and-birds-perilous.html?


> Christine Southwick

> N Seattle/Shoreline

> clsouthwick at q.com


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