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Byron Shire
May 19, 2021

EPA investigating death of bowerbirds from toxic pesticide

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Insecticide poisoning caused the death of 15 satin bowerbirds found at Modanville, near Lismore in recent weeks, investigators have revealed.

A Satin Bowerbird. Source: Wikipedia

Investigations conducted by North Coast Local Land Services have confirmed that the bird deaths were caused by the banned insecticide Fenthion.

The Environment Protection Authority (EPA) is now seeking assistance from members of the public in a bid to determine how the poisoning occurred.

As the responsible regulator for pesticide use, the EPA is exploring the possibility that the birds, which are a protected native species, may have been deliberately targeted.

No other bird species is known to have been impacted.

EPA Manager Regional Operations North Coast Benjamin Lewin said the killing of native birds, whether through intentional or reckless pesticide misuse, was a serious offence.

‘We are encouraging anyone with information on these deaths, or anyone who may have seen some activity that could be related to this illegal baiting, to contact the EPA as soon as possible,’ Mr Lewin said.

Fenthion, which was banned from use in 2014 with a phase out period of one year, is a broad-spectrum organophosphorus insecticide.

It is extremely toxic to birds and substantial penalties exist for its possession and use.

The chemical was widely used in the past for insect control on a broad range of fruit crops and for external parasite control on livestock.


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