11/09/2017 08:54 EST | Updated 11/09/2017 11:42 EST

Common pesticides starve, disorient birds with just a few seeds: research

SASKATOON — Research suggests that two of Canada's most commonly used pesticides cause migrating songbirds to lose both weight and their sense of direction.

University of Saskatchewan biologist Christy Morrissey found that one type of pesticide commonly applied to seeds caused sparrows to lose a quarter of their weight in three days.

That was with a dose equivalent to eating only a few pesticide-treated seeds.

Morrissey also found that a pesticide found in dozens of commercial products left the birds with no idea of where north was.

Morrissey says her findings, published today, may suggest why migratory songbird populations have been plummeting.

Health Canada is re-evaluating the use of some of the pesticides.