Where have all the birds gone?


Did you know that changes in bird populations are an excellent sign of how well our planet is doing?  And, right now, bird populations are in decline!

Birdlife in Decline

According to Birdlife, an analysis of the IUCN Red List shows that there is a steady and continuing deterioration in the status of the world’s birds. At least 40% of bird species worldwide have declining populations, compared with 44% that are stable, 7% that are increasing, and 8% with unknown trends.

What is Happening?

The abundant use of pesticides in industrial agriculture is killing insects, the main source of food for birds. Many are also poisoned after ingestion of contaminated insects. Intensive agriculture results in the gradual disappearance of grasslands, replaced by fields treated with pesticides. The destruction of hedgerows and wild spaces also contributes to the decline of insect populations.

Barn swallow populations are an example of just how destructive this is:

  •     Pesticides including insecticides have reduced the swallow population by 30% over the last decade.
  •     In France, it is estimated that 40% of swallows have disappeared within two decades.
  •     According to the Spanish organization SEO BirdLife, Spain is losing 500,000 swallows each year.
  •     In general, the swallow population has been declining throughout Europe with a loss of between 20% and 50% since 1970 for the barn swallow.

What is the Solution?

Transitioning to agro-ecological and organic farming practices would contribute to building healthy and intact habitats essential for securing the future of birds and other wildlife.  For example, organic farms work with a wide range of pest control solutions such as pheromone traps which are generally non-toxic and do not control other pests.

Choose Organic

We can all help change this by choosing organically grown produce and supporting farmers who grow food in a biodiversity-friendly and sustainable way!   #GoodFood4All #EatHonest


This animation was produced for the Good Food for All campaign and is available with subtitles in Czech, French, German, Greek, Italian, Lithuanian, Portuguese and Spanish.

The Good Food for All campaign is organized by 25 partners across Europe who have come together in “Make Europe Sustainable for All“, a 3-year cross-sectoral project to promote ambitious implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals. #GoodFood4All

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