The Birds and The Bees
The image above is of a European Bee Eater with a Bee in its Beak
The birds and the bees…
The flowers and the trees….
Everyone has heard this famous phrase at one time or another.
It used to be a veiled reference used to teach children about sexual reproduction.
As of late 2019, the birds and the bees are both in trouble, and some of that trouble is from the flowers and the trees.
Pesticides and habitat loss are two driving factors behind the devastating drop in their numbers.
In addition to delighting our eyes with their magnificent colorful plumage and singing beautiful songs for us, birds do so much more. They help keep insects in check, pollinate plants and distribute seeds.
This short 1:42 minute video shows angry bee eaters at work...
Birds lose weight when they eat seeds treated with certain neonicotinoid pesticides, so they have a hard time migrating.
Many bird and bee species, creatures that bring so much joy to humanity, are in an existential crisis.
Those of you who read this blog know plenty about the plight of bees, and the many hazards they face just to survive. From colony collapse disorder to varroa destructor mites to neonicotinoids to climate changes and earth changes like droughts and fires. It’s a miracle we still have as many bees as we do, even though North American beekeepers lost close to 40% of their honeybee colonies last winter.
National Geographic reported recently that we have lost 3 billion birds in North American since 1970.
Do you hear the deafening silence in your gardens of late?
Have you seen fewer song birds greet the rising sun with melodious chirping?
Habitat loss and pesticides are huge factors that cannot be ignored.
Two major “modern living” causes behind the demise of birds are glass window collisions and house cats. Together these account for billions of birds lost each year. Here is a short (1:40 minute) video of a domestic cat catching a bird...
Several bird and bee species are in a free fall and we are close to losing many precious species forever, especially wetland birds like finches, warblers, blackbirds and sparrows. And many species of bees.
Here’s the irony. Scientists think the dwindling number of birds may be linked to the decimation of one of their greatest sources of prey—insects—which includes bees.
Has it occurred to you that many of our bird and bee losses are due to modern human lifestyle? From glass doors to pesticides to domesticated cats to genetically modified flower seeds treated with insecticides, humanity has a lot to do with the hardships and tragedies of birds and bees.
Remember when the bald eagle was almost extinct in North America? This was due to the famous and deadly synthetic pesticide DDT (chemical name dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane), habitat destruction, contaminated food and being shot by humans. Sound familiar?
Humanity collectively decided to change that reality. We didn’t want to lose the bald eagle. DDT was banned in 1972, but it still took over 30 years to get the bald eagle off the endangered list. The bald eagle was taken off the federal Endangered Species list in 2007, and today it thrives all over North America.
Nobody wants to lose the birds or the bees. But how committed are we to turning this unfolding disaster around?
Can we ignite our passion to save the birds and save the bees, save the flowers and save the trees, just like we saved the bald eagle? Before it is too late?
Feel free to discuss how we might come together for birds and bees over on our Facebook page. Please always speak politely and with respect for all concerned.