Deaths of Birds and Mammals from Toxic Chemicals January-June 1961.
This second report is compiled from records of birds and mammals notified as killed by certain agricultural and horticultural chemicals in the first six months of 1961. These records have been collected both by the Joint Committee on toxic chemicals of the British Trust for Ornithology and the Royal- Society for the Protection of Birds. who concentrated on collecting information on deaths of birds due to toxic chemicals from all over the country, and by the Game Research Association, who made more detailed surveys and investigations of individual incidents.
Although this report deals with the first six months of 1961, the events of the last months of 1960 should be mentioned. Because the weather was so wet, very little autumn and winter seed was sown then and casualties' appear to have been few: in fact, we received reports of only five 'kills' or incidents in which a number of birds of different species died. They were from Angus, Lincolnshire, Norfolk, Oxfordshire and Yorkshire. Deaths in Lincolnshire continued for three months and will be mentioned again later in this report. Three birds from Lincolnshire and Yorkshire were sent to our analyst whose chemical analysis showed organic chlorine which indicated the presence of an organo-chlorine pesticide.
In 1961, reports of 347 incidents have been received in which it is alleged that toxic agricultural chemicals have been responsible for the deaths of birds. In this report we have considered 324 of these incidents; the remainder being omitted because the evidence appeared inadequate. Of these 324 incidents, 292 were attributed to toxic seed dressings and the remaining 32 to the effects of sprays and to other applications of agricultural or horticultural chemicals. The total number of reported incidents was thus about four times greater than in 1960 (see Report No. 1).
Yet it is known that in spite of the wide Press publicity given to, our requests for information, many incidents have gone unreported. We are aware of many people who saw dead or dying birds but who did not make a record at the time.