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E-M:/ West Nile Virus Testing Shows Significant Bird Mortality from Pesticides



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Enviro-Mich message from Praxis <praxis1986@triton.net>
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New York State Wildlife Pathologist Ward Stone made his bird mortality
figures available to the National Audubon Society for dissemination.  Here
is a summary of Mr. Stone's findings:

More than 80,000 birds were submitted to New York State's Pathology Lab in
2000.

Based on a sample of the birds, necropsies reveal that 31 percent actually
tested positive for West Nile Virus; 67 percent tested negative for the
virus.  Results for the remaining percentage are pending.  Not all the birds
that tested positive for the disease actually died from it.

Pesticides and other chemicals killed over 48 percent of the birds tested.

Causes of death related to pesticides include the following agents:
Diazanon, Dursban, Chlordane, Brodifacoum, Propoxur, Avitrol, Carbofuran,
PCBs, Dieldrin, DDT, Bromadiolone, and Dimethoate.

Of these pesticides, Brodifacoum and Bromadiolone are commonly used
rodenticides that appear as turquoise-colored pellets.  They were the cause
of death of several raptors, including Red-tailed, Sharp-shinned, and
Cooper's Hawks.

Diazanon, one of the most commonly used lawn-care chemicals, was responsible
for a large share of bird deaths.

In some instances, including one in which pesticide was placed in a bird
feeder, pesticides have been purposely and illegally used to kill birds.
Avitrol, illegal in New York City, was used to poison pigeons, and killed at
least one Red-tailed Hawk through secondary poisoning.

Some poisonings indicate illegal use of certain pesticides in restricted
areas.  For example, Carbofuran killed birds in a Brooklyn, NY, neighborhood
where its use is would be prohibited for health reasons.

Some of the pesticides identified (DDT and Chlordane, for example), have
been prohibited for use for some years, but continue to persist at toxic
levels in soil and other areas that birds - and presumably, people -
frequent.

Lead poisoning was responsible for the deaths of several score waterbirds

The birds killed by pesticides include Red-tailed Hawks, Cooper's Hawk,
Sharp-shinned Hawk, Saw-whet Owl, Great Blue Heron, American Crow, American
Robin, Bluebird, Blue Jay, Herring gull, Ring-Billed Gull, House Sparrow,
Rock Dove, Canada Goose, and Cowbirds.  Several score mammals, including
Grey Squirrels, a weasel, and a house cat, were also killed by pesticide
applications or residue.

Samuel DeFazio
Praxis
2793 116th Ave
Allegan, MI  49010  616-673-2793






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