Protect CT Raptors. Say 'No' to Rat Poisons.

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A CVA-supported bill (SB239) to prohibit the use of rodenticides (pesticides that kill rodents and endanger the birds who eat them) on state lands is moving through the legislative process. The original intent of the measure was weakened to include only more potent second-generation rodenticides, limiting its reach.  The bill is a good first start, however, raising awareness of what rodenticides do to CT’s birds of prey. CVA is monitoring the legislation, which hopefully now heads to the floor of the Senate. Watch for updates and Alerts in the coming weeks. 

 

There are more than 23 different species of birds of prey in Connecticut: seven species of hawks, 10 species of owls, three species of falcons, and two species of eagles, all raptors that feed on small, live mammals such as squirrels, gophers, rabbits, mice, voles, rats, and chipmunks. Several of these raptors are on the Endangered, Threatened, or Special Concern list in CT.

 

The disappearance of these magnificent birds of prey is linked to the widespread use of rodenticides by gardeners and farmers trying to keep theses rodents from using their crops, vegetables and flowers as “personal buffets.” The easiest - and currently permissible solution - is to grab the nearest rodenticide and kill them.

Tufts University Veterinary Wildlife Clinic and CT wildlife rehabilitation facility, A Place Called Hope, found that more than 90% of the birds in their care tested positive for first and second-generation rodenticide poisons. Nearly every raptor species, as well as bobcats, coyotes, and foxes, are vulnerable to rodenticide poisoning as they depend on these creatures as its their main source of protein, a necessary component of their diets. Secondarily, scavengers such as skunks, raccoons, and opossums, as well as pet dogs and cats, are at risk for secondary poisoning causing internal bleeding, kidney failure, organ damage and even death, if they consume a rodent or animal that has ingested a rodenticide.

Rodenticides do not kill quickly. They work by thinning the blood causing the animal to slowly bleed to death; any laceration or cut can become life-threatening as the blood can no longer clot. Even after death, the carcass of the poisoned animal contains residues of the poison that can be lethal for scavengers.

There are several safe and natural alternatives to rodenticides – nontoxic deterrents that do not kill the encroaching animal but deters them from entering your garden or the farmers’ fields. A few examples of non-lethal, nontoxic deterrents are: secure all trash and food waste receptacles, remove outdoor pet food bowls, elevate chicken coops by 18 inches, clean up fallen seed and grain from bird feeders, chicken coops, or barn stalls,  remove fruits and vegetables that have fallen to the  ground, apply Bounce Dryer Sheets around garden areas or spread peppermint oil soaked cotton balls, cayenne pepper, black pepper, or cloves around garden areas or rodent nesting spots and remove water sources.  Additionally, other methods can also be employed if the problem persists such as the use of pheromones to disrupt pest mating, or mechanical control, such as trapping or weeding.