can weed killer kill birds

At Jay’s Bird Barn, we get feedback every day from customers on the bird activity they are seeing in their yards. Often their comments are comparative in nature, with remarks such as, “I don’t have as many hummingbirds this year as last year,” or “I have a lot more goldfinches this year than last year.”

Another example of comparative remarks we hear is related to the number of quail families with babies, and how many babies are in each family. Some years individuals will have four or five different quail families coming to feed in their yard, with 10 or more babies in each family. Other years there are few families — or none. For example, I have not seen a single quail family in my yard this year.

Comparative remarks intrigue me, because it appears as if individuals think the number of birds they see in their yard should be fairly constant from one year to the next without a lot of variation.

The idea of bird populations being static rather than dynamic is inaccurate. A truer understanding of bird numbers includes the expectation that bird numbers can be highly variable from year to year, season to season, within different species.

I try to encourage individuals to expect variation in bird populations, and in the variety of birds they see in their yard. It is not realistic to have the same number of hummingbirds or goldfinches in your yard year after year. In fact, it is nearly impossible to predict from one year to the next how many birds will show up.

The best you can do is to be consistent in your bird-attracting efforts. Providing sources of food and water, creating and maintaining an inviting habitat, and trying to reduce the likelihood of predators (such as free-roaming cats) will increase the chances of a healthy bird population year after year.

I have another critical piece of advice on what individuals and societies can do to help bird populations be more stable. The suggestion is to avoid the temptation of an easy solution to weeds in the yard due to our recent heavy monsoon rains. Weeds are both native and natural, and produce an abundant source of food for birds, both now and into the winter months ahead.

Over the last few weeks, I have witnessed countless homeowners, weed-control companies, and governmental agencies using herbicides to kill weeds. It doesn’t take a lot of reflection to come to the conclusion that spraying weed killers on plants does a lot more than kill weeds.

I was recently driving down the road here in Prescott and passed a local business that was advertising a sale on a product called “Killzall” on its electronic sign. Is that really what you want to apply to the plants in your yard?

When chemicals are sprayed on plants, they also get on flowers that insects, bees and hummingbirds feed from. The chemicals get on leaves and seeds that birds are consuming. Insects feeding on these plants ingest the chemicals, and then birds eat the insects.

Spraying herbicides and pesticides affects our watershed as well. These harmful chemicals get into our creeks and ultimately into our lakes. My personal recommendation is for you to do some homework — Google “natural weed killers” and come up with healthy ways to eliminate the weeds in your yard. I personally get rid of undesirable weeds the old-fashioned way — I hand pick them one at a time.

Treat the earth right. Do it for yourself. Do it for your children and grandchildren. Do it for all living things, including birds.

Eric Moore is the owner of Jay’s Bird Barn, with three locations in northern Arizona – Prescott, Sedona and Flagstaff. Eric has been an avid birder for over 50 years. If you have questions about wild birds that you would like discussed in future articles, email him at

The last two work, but they’re sprouting faster than I can pull them up, so I can’t keep up with them. Every night, I pick up the loose seeds, but I can only take so much preventive action. I want to make sure that whatever I use is safe for the numerous birds that we have, including wood pigeons, collared doves, jackdaws, blackbirds, pheasants, magpies, and many more, that are pecking between the stones and even pulling up worms. When dried, are the weed killers that are purportedly safe for pets still safe to use?

Hi there, is there anyone who could recommend a safe weed killer for ground birds? We have paving slabs, and the wide spaces between them are overrun with weeds and accidentally planted bird seeds that have sprouted. Can anyone recommend bird-safe weed killers? I’ve tried:

There has been a lot more growth since this photo was taken a few weeks ago (I apologize for the quality of the image; it was a screenshot from a video I took with my phone). Even though our yard isn’t the most beautiful, I love watching all the birds that visit, along with the hedgehog, voles, and field mice!

Since we are renting, we are unable to take significant action such as moving the stones or adding ground coverings to totally stop growth in between the stones.

I have seen innumerable homeowners, weed-control businesses, and government organizations use herbicides to eradicate weeds over the past few weeks. It doesn’t take much thought to realize that applying weed killers to plants accomplishes much more than just eliminating weeds.

Jay’s Bird Barn has three locations in northern Arizona: Prescott, Sedona, and Flagstaff. Eric Moore is the owner of these locations. Eric has been an avid birder for over 50 years. Send him an email at eric@jaysbirdbarn if you have any questions about wild birds that you would like to see covered in upcoming articles. com.

Chemicals sprayed on plants also land on flowers, which serve as food for insects, bees, and hummingbirds. The substances land on the leaves and seeds that birds eat. The chemicals are consumed by insects that feed on these plants, which are then consumed by birds.

The best thing you can do is keep up your efforts to attract birds consistently. The likelihood of a healthy bird population year after year can be increased by providing food and water sources, creating and maintaining an inviting habitat, and attempting to lessen the likelihood of predators (such as free-roaming cats).

Recently, as I was traveling down this Prescott road, I came across a local company whose electronic sign was promoting a sale on a product named “Killzall.” Are you really intending to use that on your yard’s plants?


Are weed killers bad for birds?

Songbirds need a variety of things to survive, including; Food, water, shelter, and nesting materials for breeding. Using harsh chemicals in the garden can make some of these harder to acquire. Weedkillers are not wildlife friendly – native weeds are one of the essentials needed for native insects, birds, and mammals.

Does weed killer hurt wildlife?

Many herbicides have been shown to be directly toxic to wild birds (most noteably the widespread herbicide 2, 4-D). The more common effect herbicides have on birds is the destruction of their habitat where they live, feed, and raise their families.

What chemical kills birds?

Carbofuran, a century-old chemical, is increasingly being weaponized against birds and other wildlife, decimating entire food webs.

Do lawn pesticides kill birds?

It is estimated that approximately 7 million wild birds are killed each year due to the aesthetic use of pesticides by homeowners. Pesticides are also routinely used to control weeds and vegetation along roadsides and borders which are used by wildlife as habitats for nesting and raising their young.