Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Starlings that just can't be bothered...

Now and again I am told something that makes me sit up and pay attention. It happened last night when I caught a bit of Autumnwatch on the TV.  If I heard correctly, there is concern over the amount of antidepressant molecules getting into our water (via the agency of people prescribed Prozac having to void bladder and bowels). Studies have shown that this can (or is?) having a direct effect on the health of birds. A study on Starlings (click here for a summary) has shown that when they were fed on sewage farm-gathered earthworms, because of the levels of antidepressant in the worms, this led to a suppression of appetite and a lowering of sex-drive in the birds. This double whammy could be one of the causes of the slump seen in Starlings since the 1960s. If they are not eating enough during the cold winter nights they are doomed - and if those that survive cannot then be bothered to breed, the population will not be replenished!! My early birding memories (admittedly not going back quite as far as that decade) does hold dear the dazzling spectacle of flocks of this species wheeling over my south London and north Surrey haunts. In fact, I rather took them for granted at the time. I get quite excited if I see a three figure flock now.

What with oestrogen (via birth control pills) causing fish to change sex, the chemical coatings on farmer's pesticides killing our bees - let alone plain habitat destruction - us humans have an awful lot to answer for.  I'm convinced that in years to come they will look back on 'us lot' in the late 20th/early 21st century and ask...

"...did they really not know what they were doing to themselves and the environment?"


  1. Steve
    I shared on Facebook last week!!
    sad sentiments but true!
    All the best

  2. But what Steve? A good example: if you try and explain to people about the problems that MAY be associated with fracking and the vast majority are against it; the oil companies suggest it MAY mean cheaper fuel and most become in favour. Of course the first MAY should be "probably will" and the second should be "probably won't"..................

    1. Trouble is John, most of us (me included) think that the world has gone mad, that the environment is getting raped but still do nothing about it, save having a bit of a grumble. I now need to step up, that much I know,