This songthrush had a lucky escape. Trapped inside the front grill of a car it was otherwise in good health, although could not get out. It’s not clear how it had managed to get itself trapped. Maybe struck at speed or when reaching in to feed on the insects stuck there. We were able to prise the plastic grill apart and set the bird free.
The number of insects stuck to the front of vehicles is a good indicator of the insect biodiversity in our countryside and its not good news. In one recent (2017) study it was found that, in German nature reserves, flying insect populations have declined by more than 75% over a 27-year period. This study focused on nature reserves but it is likely that urban and agricultural areas have fared even worse. A number of factors may be at play but the top suspects are climate change, loss of insect habitats including wild flower meadows and the use of pesticides.
The decline of our bee population is particularly concerning given that they are responsible for pollinating much of our food crops around the globe. The pesticide neonicotinoids have been implicated in a 24% decline in bee populations in Poland – this is widely used in agriculture. In other studies on honeybee poisoning incidents, they found 57 different types responsible, most of which are approved for use in the European Union. Who knows perhaps with ‘Brexit’ we may have the opportunity to reverse some of this decline in Scotland by ‘thinking globally and acting locally’.