Action Synopsis: Bird Conservation About Actions

Restrict certain pesticides or other agricultural chemicals for birds

How is the evidence assessed?
  • Effectiveness
  • Certainty
  • Harms

Study locations

Key messages

A small scale study found that Pyrazophos reduced chick food abundance more than other foliar fungicides. A before-and-after study from Spain found that the population of griffon vultures Gyps fulvus increased in the study area following multiple interventions including the banning of strychnine.


About key messages

Key messages provide a descriptive index to studies we have found that test this intervention.

Studies are not directly comparable or of equal value. When making decisions based on this evidence, you should consider factors such as study size, study design, reported metrics and relevance of the study to your situation, rather than simply counting the number of studies that support a particular interpretation.

Supporting evidence from individual studies

  1. A small scale study of cereal fields treated with foliar fungicides in the UK (Sotherton & Rands 1987) found that chick food insect abundance was reduced to a greater extent following applications of Pyrazophos compared to other fungicides.  Compared to untreated crops, chick food insects were reduced by 31-70% in crops treated with Pyrazophos, 10% with Propiconazole and 3% with Triadimefon applications.   The effect of Pyrazophos was greater when applied at an earlier growth stage (GS37: 70%; GS50: 45%; GS60: 31% reduction).  Following Pyrazophos applications, total predatory arthropods were reduced by 25-48%; aphid specific predators 35-84% (17% with Triadimefon) and parasitoids 34-55%.  Fungicides were sprayed at GS 50 in winter wheat in 1984.  Pyrazophos was also sprayed at GS60 in spring barley (1984) and GS37 in winter barley (1985).   Chick food insects were sampled by sweep nets or suction sampling.

    Study and other actions tested
  2. A before-and-after between 1969 and 1989 in the western Pyrenees, Spain (Donazar & Frenandez 1990), found that the population of griffon vultures Gyps fulvus increased from 282 pairs (in 23 colonies) in 1969-75 to 1,097 pairs (46 colonies) in 1989 following the initiation of multiple conservation interventions including the banning of strychnine, a major cause of vulture mortality, in 1984. Additional surveys in 1979 and 1984 found 364 pairs (in 26 colonies), 589 pairs (32 colonies) respectively. This study is also discussed in ‘Habitat protection’, ‘Use legislative regulation to protect wild populations’ and ‘Provide supplementary food to increase adult survival’.

    Study and other actions tested
Please cite as:

Williams, D.R., Child, M.F., Dicks, L.V., Ockendon, N., Pople, R.G., Showler, D.A., Walsh, J.C., zu Ermgassen, E.K.H.J. & Sutherland, W.J. (2020) Bird Conservation. Pages 137-281 in: W.J. Sutherland, L.V. Dicks, S.O. Petrovan & R.K. Smith (eds) What Works in Conservation 2020. Open Book Publishers, Cambridge, UK.


Where has this evidence come from?

List of journals searched by synopsis

All the journals searched for all synopses

Bird Conservation

This Action forms part of the Action Synopsis:

Bird Conservation
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What Works in Conservation provides expert assessments of the effectiveness of actions, based on summarised evidence, in synopses. Subjects covered so far include amphibians, birds, mammals, forests, peatland and control of freshwater invasive species. More are in progress.

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