Tag Archives: second generation rodenticide

TINY TENDER SCREECH OWL SUFFERING FROM RAT POISON

Cape Ann wildlife rehabber Erin Parsons Hutchings shared photos of an Eastern Screech Owl that she has been treating for secondary rat poisoning.

“A crowd of concerned police officers were standing around the tiny creature when animal control officer Jamie Levie entered the room. This small screech owl, no larger than a coke can, had shown up at the station in clear need of help. She was unable to fly and clearly in distress.

Officer Levie brought her to wildlife rehabilitator Erin Hutchings from Cape Ann Wildlife, Inc.

Erin did what many rehabbers do when they receive sick predatory animals – she drew the bird’s blood.

Why? To check for exposure to rat poison.

Rat poison effects an animal’s ability to clot – therefore it’s ability to heal. When enough poison has been ingested, this results in the animal’s death.

She took the blood sample yesterday. It should have clotted within 8 min. As of this morning, the owl’s blood still hasn’t clotted.

This precious creature was just doing its job helping us control the rodent population, but someone poisoned its meals.

Erin is working very hard right now to save this innocent creature. This holiday season, her rescue could use your support in their efforts to save these animals.

If donating isn’t possible, please consider spreading the word about rat poison and what it does to our wildlife.

Thank you”

For more information on how to donate, please go here

Mission Statement: Cape Ann Wildlife, Inc. is dedicated to rescuing and providing the necessary rehabilitative care to all injured, orphaned or otherwise impaired wildlife during their confinement and adjustment period with Cape Ann Wildlife to ensure their survival upon release back into their natural environment.

RATS!

Gloucester’s Animal Advisory Committee recently sponsored an informative presentation by Gary Menin, director of the Massachusetts chapter of the organization R.A.T.S. (Raptors Are The Solution). Gary presented a talk with accompanying slides on the catastrophic effects of rodenticides on owls, hawks, falcons, eagles, and other birds of prey.

Gloucester is a waterfront community and as such, we will most assuredly always have a rat population.  As has been pointed out dozens of times at the AAC meetings, improper handling of garbage is one of our number one problems. Garbage bags not contained in cans that are placed on city streets the night before trash collection attracts and provides food for coyotes, gulls, crows, and rats. Dumpsters not properly closed and maintained also support rats, gulls, crows, and coyotes, as do overflowing beach barrels.

Although second generation rodenticides are banned, exterminators are still allowed to use them. Gary reminded us however that YOU are the client. If all else fails and an exterminator must be hired, tell them not to use rodenticide under any circumstance.

Firstly, if we better manage our trash, we can greatly shrink the nuisance critter population. Additionally, Gary provided an excellent list of alternatives to rodenticides.

1). Snap traps

2). Ultrasonic waves

3). Electrocuting traps

4). Live trap and relocate

5). Dry ice pellets placed at hole entryways

6). Moth balls and peppermint oil as a repellent

7). Goodnature A24 Rat Trap

Under no circumstances are glue traps recommended as they are an unusually cruel method of extermination.

As we have talked about many times on Good Morning Gloucester, the White-footed Mouse and the Chipmunk are the greatest vectors of Lyme disease. Raptors play a vital rope in controlling mice, chipmunks, and other small rodent populations and have proven to be an important link in the fight against Lyme disease.

Gary also mentioned that the city of Revere recently purchased rat-proof garbage cans that every member of the community is mandated to use. The local governing body was fed up with the proliferation of rats because of flimsy trash bags, overflowing barrels, and careless disposal of garbage. You can read more about Revere’s new barrels here: Revere Looks to Put Lid on Rat Problem.

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We can also purchase or build our own owl nest box. With a quick google search you can find tons of DIY videos, plans, and directions online such as this one for a Screech Owl house.

Screech Owl House Plans

Every year we hear Screech Owls in our neighborhood, close-by, and I’m inspired to build an owl house after hearing Gary’s presentation!

Last winter Hedwig was seen with almost clock-work regularity departing nightly for her evening hunt. An adult Snowy Owl feeds on average three to five times per day.

The food web graphics provided by R.A.T.S. are terrific and are free and downloadable for anyone’s use.