At least 200 mostly red-winged blackbirds (Agelaius phoeniceus) died in November in the rural area near Bridgeton, New Jersey, and some were seen flying in a disoriented manner. The state is performing additional tests on the blackbirds that died to see whether the insecticide imidacloprid killed them. Several of the birds that were examined had wheat seeds in their digestive tracts. Wheat seed coated with imidacloprid is believed to have been used in the area around the time of the deaths, according to the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). Seeds treated with imidacloprid are supposed to be fully tilled into soil and any excess treated seed or spilled seed in areas accessible to wildlife should be quickly cleaned up or buried to prevent ingestion. “Imidacloprid can cause disorientation and gastrointestinal distress in blackbirds,” the DEP said in a statement Tuesday. While use of the coated seed is not regulated, DEP spokesman Larry Hajna said it is important that anyone using it follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully.
Source: Press of Atlantic City, January 4, 2017
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