‘Shocking’ decline in birds across Europe due to pesticide use, say scientists

The Independent reports:

Bird numbers across France have declined by a third in the past 15 years, according to new figures released by researchers.

Linked to changes in agricultural practices such as pesticide use, the dramatic collapse is comparable with trends observed in other parts of Europe, including the UK.

Nevertheless, the latest figures have shocked scientists who previously thought France’s bird population was relatively stable.

“We had some idea because when you are working in the countryside you find places where the birds are missing,” Professor Romain Julliard, a conservation biologist at France’s National Museum of Natural History, told The Independent.

“So we all had a feeling that something was going on, but seeing the figures was a shock.”

In some areas, the researchers reported certain species had vanished completely, and noted the overall decline appeared to be accelerating. [Continue reading…]

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