I know I’m supposed to believe in this science stuff and generally I do. But I do like to see more than just a little bit of considering alternative causes.
Popular pesticides are causing bird species to decline at an alarming rate in the US, adding fuel to a 50-year downward trend in bird biodiversity, a new report has found.
In addition to spray-on pesticides, farmers are widely using chemicals that coat seeds. These pesticides, called neonicotinoids or neonics, deter insects as the seeds sprout and as they grow into plants.
According to a study published in Nature Sustainability, the increased use of neonicotinoids is putting bird species at risk across the US as the chemicals manifest in the stalk, nectar and pollen of plants.
It’s important if it is happening. But there have been more than a few stories about neonicotinoids and bees that raise more than just the occasional eyebrow. Rather a if some out there would like to find something wrong with them.
And there’s a problem – for me, if no one else – in this paper. There’s not even a mention of birdchoppers.
Now, we know that the US has installed massive numbers of windmills. Over this past 20 years or so that neonics have risen in use. We also know that birdchoppers, erm, chop birds. So, we have ready made an alternative hypothesis.
And the thing about science and hypotheses is that if you’ve got an alternative one which explains the facts – which my mere sketching of a possibility of course does not – then you’ve got to actively go out and try to prove that alternative wrong.
That’s county level information. Red is many less birds, white no information. So, all that’s required is a county level database of birdchopper installations to compare. Take a decent data scientists a couple of hours maybe.
I’m all for science. That means I’d like to see actual science being done….