ITHACA, NY—In an effort to preserve a critical component of the global ecosystem, ecology experts urged the planet’s birds Friday to help avert the rapid, worldwide decline of insects by adopting a seed-based diet. “It is absolutely vital that bird populations wean themselves off of insects in favor of more sustainable options,” said researcher Marcus Drysdale, who has worked at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology to develop seed-based avian diets that are high in protein and include options reasonably similar in taste to beetles and grubs. “If these birds don’t change their lifestyle, we could soon have a disaster on our hands. Even if they can’t completely excise bugs from their diet, they at least need to cut down their intake to one or two servings of earwig per week. I realize they’re not all going to become strict granivores overnight, but they can still reduce their overall larvae consumption in the short-term.” Drysdale added the he and his colleagues have launched an “Insectless Sunday” campaign in an attempt to raise awareness in the bird community.
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