Another owl dead and for what? Rat Poison

It's no secret that a Northern Pygmy-Owl had been frequenting Maplewood Flats. The bird was unfortunately plastered over eBird. It's unfortunate as it draws more people to view the bird and in turn puts more pressure on it and subjects it to harassment. There were daily photographers there but everyone seemed to behave responsibly. This is not a story about bad photographers, no it's about rat poison. Too many pest companies and people use this to get rid of rodents. They fail to realize though, that it doesn't kill the rodent instantly. They die a slow painful death and then an owl who sees a sluggish looking rodent on the ground takes the easy prey. The owl ingests that prey and then they too in turn die a slow painful death. Well the little Pygmy-Owl in North Van succumbed to the same fate. You can read the sad story in the North Shore News HERE.

There have been countless news stories in the lower mainland about this problem with owls. Recently, Barred and Barn Owls have been most locally affected. Barn Owls in the lower mainland are declining so fast that extirpation is a real threat. The federal government announced they would uplist the owl soon to "threatened" as per the COSEWIC recommendation.
The Vancouver Sun and many other news media outlets like Global, CTV and CBC along with OWL have been doing countless interviews on this situation.

Read this scary statistic I excerpted below:

"A 2009 Environment Canada study of the livers of 164 barn, barred and great horned owls from B.C. and the Yukon found evidence of at least one anticoagulant rodenticide in 70 per cent of cases. Barn owls are a threatened species in B.C. 

Of those, more than 41 per cent contained more than one rodenticide, most often the second-generation poisons, including bromadiolone, which are now restricted to indoor use or against the outside walls of dwellings, including farm buildings and restaurants.

Health Canada explained in a news release that anticoagulant rodenticides fall into two categories: first-generation products (chlorophacinone, diphacinone, warfarin) and second-generation products (brodifacoum, bromadiolone, difethialone)." 

- The Vancouver Sun


It seems still that the message is not getting through. Glue traps are cruel the animal dies a terrible death and other animals like skunks and squirrels and birds can get trapped and die. Even bug glue traps kill birds (the TrapStik being the worst) see the news story in Canada HERE.

The most humane way to remove rodents is not humane removal by trapping and releasing because it just creates a problem for someone else and the animal needs a food and water source to survive so although you think you aren't being cruel by letting them loose in a forest you actually are. The best way to remove them is to use snap traps. Snap traps should only be used inside the home because outdoors it can trap birds, squirrels and skunks. It is not pleasant but it kills the animal instantly.

Hopefully they government will amend regulations so that rat poison is illegal for all even professionals. Still most city municipalities use rat poison boxes. I have seen them in peoples homes, businesses, the Vancouver Aquarium. They are everywhere and yes we have a rodent problem but the best thing to do to combat this is remove bird seed from your backyard or at least clean up the waste and spilled seed on the ground. The other thing you can do is make sure you don't put food scraps in the garbage or leave garbage out. Make sure your garbage is secure and make sure you seal up your home so they can't get in. They can get in the smallest of spots so do preventative measures to decrease problems. There is no excuse to use rat poison once you know the harm it causes to birds and animals.

We need to do our part to save more owls and other raptors from a similar sad fate.

Too many are dying from rodenticide. Sometimes it feels like we are banging our heads against the wall with this message but hopefully attitudes will slowly change and the message will trickle through.


Northern Pygmy-Owl in BC - Photo: Melissa Hafting



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