Bird enthusiasts will welcome the news that a pesticide toxic to the animals has been banned. The Environmental Protection Agency used to allow a small residue of the chemical on food. But now—carbofuran will be phased out by the end of this year. A native Kentucky species called the Cerulean Warbler, however, may still be in danger where it winters in Central and South America because farmers continue to use carbofuran on fruit and vegetable crops the birds eat. However, the American Bird Conservancy’s Steve Holmer believes the U.S. ban could persuade farmers across the border to stop using it—a boon for the declining population of warblers.
“Since surveys began in the 1960s, it’s declined 70 percent. And it continues to decline at about four percent. And you know, at that trend line, after a hundred years, there’s going to be almost none left,” Holmer says.
Holmer says Cerulean Warblers prefer the interior of dense forests. So another reason for their sharp decline is the loss of habitat from development as well as clearing forests for mountaintop mining.