About us: We own the Wild Birds Unlimited nature shop in East Lansing, Michigan,
a store that provides a wide variety of supplies to help you enjoy the birdwatching hobby.

This blog was created to answer frequently asked questions & to share nature stories and photographs.
To contribute, email me at bloubird@gmail.com.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Concern about fertilizers and bluebirds' health

I am very concerned about fertilizer my husband insists on putting on our backyard and its effect on my bluebirds. Is there a safe fertilizer or safe time of year? I have two nesting boxes and only one successful brood in 3 years.
It is not good to use any insecticides or chemical fertilizers on your garden or yard. This is important because bluebirds eat bugs. If the bluebirds eat an insect which has been treated with chemicals, they could become ill.

Steve Kress, Audubon’s vice president for bird conservation wrote, “Too often, birds die from contact with chemicals on suburban lawns.  Homeowners in the United States apply about 78 million pounds of insecticides, herbicides, and fungicides per year to their homes, lawns, and gardens—not including applications made by pest control or lawn care professionals. On a per acre basis, this is three times more pesticides than the amount used on agricultural crops.

David Pimentel, professor of entomology at Cornell University, estimates that about 72 million birds die each year as a result of direct exposure to pesticides on agricultural lands, and an estimated additional 7 million die each year from lawn chemicals.

Pesticides can wash into rivers and streams, blow into neighboring areas, and seep into the groundwater. They also persist in soil and garden litter, and are readily tracked into our homes. Lawn and garden fertilizers run off into waterways, spurring algae blooms in streams, lakes, and ponds, which decreases the oxygen levels within these critical wildlife habitats.

Whenever possible, it’s best to avoid all lawn and garden chemicals. In a nutshell, go organic. The birds will thank you.”

Read more about having a Bird Friendly Chemical-Free Lawn: http://lansingwbu.blogspot.com/2012/02/chemical-free-lawn-is-bird-friendly.html

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