News related to a consistent loss in biodiversity around the UK makes it the topic du jour. see also Bird Facts
It sure does look like a "birds and the bees" type of story day. My kind of stories, albeit ones with less than storybook endings.
"Edward O Wilson, America's greatest naturalist, called invertebrates – the insects, the spiders, the worms, the snails and all their fellows – "the little things that run the world". He meant that these tiny creatures were at the very base of much of life. For example, in the case of pollination, where bees and other insect pollinators fertilise plants, and enable them to produce fruit and seeds, by transferring pollen between flowers.
In the past five years or so, pollinators, honeybees in particular, have started to vanish in many places, and governments have woken up to the problem, as pollination is worth billions.
In fact, insects such as butterflies, moths, bumblebees and mayflies have been disappearing for a long time, although hardly anyone except specialists has noticed or cared."
"A new generation of pesticides is making honeybees far more susceptible to disease, even at tiny doses, and may be a clue to the mysterious colony collapse disorder that has devastated bees across the world, the US government's leading bee researcher has found. Yet the discovery has remained unpublished for nearly two years since it was made by the US Department of Agriculture's Bee Research Laboratory.
The release of such a finding from the American government's own bee lab would put a major question mark over the use of neonicotinoid insecticides – relatively new compounds which mimic the insect-killing properties of nicotine, and which are increasingly used on crops in the US, Britain and around the world. ...
In Britain, more than 1.4 million acres were treated with the chemical in 2008, as part of total neonicotinoid use of more than 2.5 million acres – about a quarter of Britain's arable cropland."
"Populations of wild birds in the UK are falling dramatically with even slight recent recoveries apparently stalled, government figures showed today. Only seabird populations remain comfortably above 1970 levels, while farmland bird numbers continue to plunge from a brief mid-1970s peak to half those of 40 years ago.
Habitat changes responsible for fewer nesting sites and food shortages were blamed last summer for sharp English farmbird losses but the reasons for the decline in woodland birds are less clear, according to the RSPB.
However research led by the British Trust for Ornithology has suggested agricultural intensification has also hit birds favouring wet grassland and moorland. Less vegetation cover and scrub, overgrazing by deer, more drainage of nearby farmland and changing winter climate may all be factors in the woodland bird decline."