Pesticide Use ‘Threatening’ British Songbirds

Great Britain is famous for its beautiful birds and listening to birdsong is one of the greatest simple pleasures in life… but it seems that our feathered friends are now being put at increasing risk because of some common gardening habits, specifically the use of pesticides.

New research from the University of Sussex, published in the Science of the Total Environment journal, has just revealed that if you do use pesticides in your gardens, it’s likely that you’ll see fewer birds flying in to pay a visit.

According to the Guardian, the study found that there were 25 per cent fewer house sparrows in gardens where the use of glyphosate was commonplace (an ingredient found in many brands, including Gallup and Roundup).

If you use the likes of metaldehyde slug pellets, meanwhile, you are also likely to see fewer birds, with the study also showing that these products can drive house sparrow numbers down by almost 40 per cent.

Professor Dave Goulson from the university’s school of life sciences department was quoted by the news source as saying: “The UK has 22 million gardens, which collectively could be a fantastic refuge for wildlife, but not if they are overly tidy and sprayed with poisons. We just don’t need pesticides in our gardens. 

“Many towns around the world are now pesticide free. We should simply ban the use of these poisons in urban areas, following the example of France.”


What to use instead of pesticides?

The good news is that there are lots of alternatives to pesticides if you do want to encourage the birds back to your gardens.

What about trying out different gardening techniques that can help drive vigorous plant growth while discouraging pests from taking up residence? You can also invest in pest-resistant plants that provide habitats for wildlife, while companion planting can make a big difference to pest numbers while keeping your plants healthy, happy and thriving.


Need help with the landscaping at your Chester home? Get in touch with LW Landscapes today.