Pesticides, Toxic Chemicals, and other Pollutants

Birds face a range of toxic threats each day, from pesticides to lead in ammunition and fishing tackle to heavy metal discharges from factories and power plants. Since its founding in 1994, ABC has led the bird conservation community in addressing a myriad of toxic threats, from rat poisons’ effects on raptors to insecticidal effects on migratory bird navigation systems. Birds are highly sensitive to these chemicals, which often result in large-scale mortality, as well as a range of sub-lethal effects such as decreased life-spans, impaired navigation systems, and reproductive and developmental abnormalities.


Light is also a pollutant that can be lethal to birds by confusing their nocturnal navigation mechanisms. Light draws birds in to collide with man-made structures such as communication towers, buildings, and wind developments. ABC works with architectural firms, glass manufacturers, NGOs, companies, and governments to develop bird-safe designs for windows and other structures.


Learn more in this section about how birds are affected by pesticides, lead and heavy metals, light, and marine trash, and what you can do to help.


Helicopeter spraying pesticides by FWS
Bald Eagle poisoned by ingesting spent lead ammunition
Deepwater Horizon relief well - July 2010
Lighted communication towers
Garbage on the beach in Hawaii