Lethal and sublethal effects of dietary triclopyr butoxyethyl ester (TBEE) on zebra finches (Poephila guttata Gould) were determined in laboratory experiments conducted between 8 January and 1 May 1991. The 8-day median lethal dietary concentration, LC50 (95% confidence interval), of TBEE to zebra finches was 1,923 (1,627 to 2,277) mg/kg. In the sublethal effects experiment, when birds were exposed to 500 mg/kg TBEE in the diet for 29 days, food consumption and body weight were significantly depressed (P < 0.05). Similar prolonged exposures to 50 and 150 mg/kg TBEE in the diet had no significant effect on food consumption or body weight (P > 0.05). Perch-hopping activity was depressed relative to controls in the 500 mg/kg group, and elevated in the 150 mg/kg group, but neither of these differences was significant (P > 0.05). Disappearance of TBEE residues from treated seeds over the 29 day experimental period followed an exponential decay model, with half-lives in the order of 15 to 18 days. On the basis of our observation that TBEE had no significant adverse effects at a concentration greater than the maximum expected environmental concentration, we propose that forestry applications of triclopyr at registered dosage rates pose little risk to wild songbirds.
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