Birds and Bees
By Steven Carne, Jul 26 2017 11:11AM
This summer - use the term loosely - has been a hive of activity (see what I did there?) with bees galore buzzing around and birds swooping in the garden at all times of the day. It's been a real pleasure to see them and hear them. The bees especially can be bloody loud in the ceonothus (California lilac for the non garden types).
Why am I being so noisy about this? Well for the last 5 years I've seen the number of birds and bees dwindle in the garden. When we first moved here 12 years ago it was a busy traffic area with sparrows playing "Heathrow" sitting on our greenhouse roof taking turns to feed from the fat balls in winter and buds in Spring. But about 2012 i began to notice not so many were visiting. That was when the rise of Rapeseed was moving in bigtime. And since then East Cambridgshire has pretty much become a blanket of golden yellow for 360 Degrees around our area.
I actually love the yellow even though it plays havoc with allergies and breathing. But this year 2017 the farmers have changed the crops. We're back to wheat and cornflower. And with them it seems are the birds and the bees.
It's got me thinking there is a definite link between the crop - and the neocotinoids/sprays and pesticides used to grow it - and the shrinking of the bird/bee population in our area. And if it's happneing here it must be happening everywhere.
This is nothing new. Since the popularity of Rapeseed Oil in cooking - another oil to get away from the saturated fat family of oils (cheap) - farmers and enviromentalists have been arguing the toss. This from 2007. https://www.theguardian.com/uk/2007/apr/19/ruralaffairs.lifeandhealth
Trouble is it seems the bees LOVE Rapeseed. But it sends them a little crazy and interferes with their ability to navigate, collect pollen and even buzz! This is a very recent study and reveals much about the effect of the innocent golden yellow on our poor bees. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/jun/29/pesticides-damage-survival-of-bee-colonies-landmark-study-shows
Haven't yet discovered how the sparrows are effected. This is enough for today dont you think?
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