Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Those Dead Birds

The sight of a bird corpse brought fear to many Fairfield County dwellers a couple of years ago. Health departments were inundated with calls about dead birds, presumably the victims of the once dreaded West Nile Virus.

The callers themselves, it turns out, may have killed most of those birds.

A Cornell University study has found that the majority of birds tested for West Nile Virus in Connecticut and New York in 2002 died not from a disease, but from lawn-care pesticides. Nationwide, Cornell said, deadly lawn chemicals like diazinon and chlorphrifos kill millions of birds a year.

If they kill birds, what might they be doing to you, your family, and your pets?

And what would happen if you didn’t poison your lawn? Wildflowers – some call them weeds – would move in with the grass, adding some color to that bland carpet of green. But what’s better, chickweed, dandelions, clover, speedwell, buttercups, and a host of other lawn flowers produce seeds that will feed instead of kill the birds.

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