[Tweeters] Pesticides and Birds- A perilous Mix

Blakley n4946b at comcast.net
Mon May 19 17:40:19 PDT 2014

The figure of 67 million comes from a paper published in a refereed
scientific journal:

Pimentel, D., A. Greiner, and T. Bashore, Economic and environmental costs
of pesticide use, Archives of Environmental Contamination 21 (1991): 84-90.

Some interesting perspectives on anthropogenic causes of avian mortality and
their relative magnitudes here:


Nigel Blakley


From: tweeters-bounces at mailman1.u.washington.edu
[mailto:tweeters-bounces at mailman1.u.washington.edu] On Behalf Of Liz
Sent: Monday, May 19, 2014 4:36 PM
To: Christine Southwick; tweeters at uw.edu
Subject: RE: [Tweeters] Pesticides and Birds- A perilous Mix


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that were indiscriminate have been replaced by ones that are highly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 drive.

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

Ken Hemberry


> 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.





> Christine Southwick

> N Seattle/Shoreline

> clsouthwick at q.com


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