Blueberry Pesticides Impact Hummingbirds
When you reach for that carton of blueberries at the grocery store, take a moment to consider how they are produced. In Canada, where blueberries are one of the top horticultural crops, fields are sprayed with a cocktail of chemicals, including neonicotinoids.
Recent research by WHP Advisory Committee Member Dr. Christine Bishop shows that hummingbirds found near blueberry fields in the Fraser Valley, British Columbia, are chronically exposed to chemicals. Even the blueberry flower nectar on which hummingbirds forage contains these chemicals, and as a result, over 26% of Anna’s, Rufous, Calliope, Black-Chinned, and Ruby-throated Hummingbirds contained neonicotinoids.
Hummingbird Banding in Estes Park, Colorado
Near Rocky Mountain National Park in Estes Park, Colorado, Scott Rashid sets up his hummingbird banding station. Underneath tree canopy shadows, a feeder is hung and surrounded with nylon netting. For the visitors, there are a few rows of benches faced towards the feeder. Scott sits on one of the benches and waits for a hummingbird to fly into the net. Scott Rashid, bird researcher and rehabilitator, is one of three certified hummingbird banders in Colorado. He has been banding birds for 34 years, and his knowledge of varying bird species is astounding. Scott bands all types of birds in the area year-round and conducts educational programs for anyone willing to listen to why bird banding is beneficial (both for the birds and for us).
Hummingbirds Reveal Evidence of Insecticide Exposure
With support from WHP, University of California at Davis researcher Lisa Tell and her colleagues developed a method to detect the presence of pesticides in hummingbirds. They then used their technique to test for as many 150 drugs, pesticides, and other products in Black-chinned and Anna’s Hummingbirds in California.