Add birds to pollinators, such as bees, that are harmed by neonicitinoid seed treatment products.
White-crowned sparrows that ate a tiny dose of the neonicotinoid imidacloprid — equivalent to a just a few coated seeds and far below the lethal dose — lost their appetite, quickly lost weight at a time when they should be fattening up and delayed their migration to their breeding ground by several days, report researchers at the University of Saskatchewan and York University in the journal Science.
"Just a few days (delay) can have a significant effect on their future reproduction and survival," said Margaret Eng, lead author of the new study.
Eng is a postdoctoral researcher working with Christy Morrissey, an ecotoxicology professor at the University of Saskatchewan.
The study also suggests that neonics may not be as harmless to vertebrates such as birds as previously thought.
"The most important thing is that it's not just pollinators and bees that are badly affected by neonicotinoids," said Bridget Stutchbury, a professor of biology at York University who also co-authored the study. "That's kind of alarming."
Remember a couple of years ago when beekeepers first began to complain about neonicitinoids that leaders of the Ontario grain industry tried to poo-poo their concerns. How things change!