|White crowned sparrow - migration slowdown|
A FARM pesticide that was banned last year on fields in the UK and most of the rest of Europe was probably harming birds as well as insects.
That's the conclusion of scientists at York and at Saskatchewan in Canada who carried out an experiment with white-crowned sparrows, then published their findings in this month's edition of Science magazine.
Birds that fed on seed sprayed with neonicotinoids reduced both their further consumption of food and their fat levels.
As a result, they delayed their migration by an average of 3.5 days while they sought to 'refuel' from other sources in order to build up their strength.
Although their exposure to the pesticide was sub-lethal, the migration delay is thought to have had carry-over effects that may have affected both reproduction and survival.
Neonicotinoids were banned after research indicated that they had a disorientating affect on bees which are important pollinators.
* Photo: Wolfgang Wander via Wikimedia Commons