Insecticides and Birds
Following a visit to Cambodia in 2006, I wrote an article ‘Paddy fields sans scarecrows’. The nucleus of that originated on our drive from Phonm Pen to Siem Reap and back. Either side of the road there were lush fields growing what appeared to be Paddy. On the outward journey I had noticed that there were no scare crows to ward off birds, nor farmers standing on platforms with sling shots to frighten the birds. On the return journey I asked our guide for the reason; if there are birds eating your farm produce then you need to protect it, here there are hardly any birds. I was amazed and asked, why? He said conditions were so bad during the war that there was no food so people ate anything that grew or moved on land, water and sky! All the birds became food for those who could catch those; only after the war slowly water birds have started appearing on the coast, hoped that it won’t be long before they appear inland.
I was presented with a similar situation a couple of years back at a Holiday resort in Goa. It had beautiful manicured lawn well maintained, flowering bushes and trees, and some fruit trees; but no birds to speak of except for some pigeons and crows perching on top of the resort buildings. Early next morning it was the same, no birds! I decided to take a walk outside the resort towards the sea passing through a small village and quite a few trees along the roadside. The variety of birds that I saw that morning was amazing; Golden Orioles, Babblers, Treepies, Fly catchers, King Fishers, Herons, Wooly necked etc
This got me thinking as to why the birds avoided the resort despite lawn, flowers and fruits. That evening before the sun went down and they were preparing for dinner on the lawn or some competition by the pool side, I noticed that there were quite a few employees spraying the lawn and bushes with what I presume was insecticide so that the guests are not troubled during the dinner and entertainment by mosquitoes and other insects. There was no food for the birds in this manicured, lovely garden as the insects were dead or the flowers and fruits were coated with what I presume is poison
Is there something that can be done about this? Can the establishments that cater to public on the lawn or gardens in the evening hours do something about it?