[Ed. – Yeah, I thought that was a weird thing to study too. But the concern is the incidental exposure birds now have to antidepressants, because human use leaves their traces present in the environment.]
Songbirds altered their courtship behaviour following exposure to antidepressants increasingly found in the natural environment, according to scientists in Britain who conducted a three-year study.
Male starlings sang less and were more aggressive towards females who had been given small doses of the antidepressant fluoxetine, commonly known as Prozac, researchers at the University of York found.
They believe the study — to be published in the journal Chemosphere — shows such changes in behaviour could put songbirds at risk in the wild.
“Here is the first evidence that low concentrations of an antidepressant can disrupt the courtship of songbirds,” said Kathryn Arnold, from the university’s environment department.
“This is important because animals that are slow to find a mate often won’t get to breed.