Friday, November 16, 2012

Rat Poison is Bird Poison?

Bartlett Park, my favorite little not-sure-what-it-is place, is full of birds of prey. Of course, they hardly stick to the park--it's deep, but not wide, and they have to hunt elsewhere.

The park is right behind a shopping center full of restaurants and grocery stores, and therefore, lots and lots of food waste. Rats, of course, like food. Store owners, understandably, are less than enthusiastic about rats.

A while back, I posted a pair of pictures (1) of the resulting contrast: Wildlife sanctuary (of sorts) on one side, rat poison on the other. I idly wondered whether the poisoned bait might be hurting the birds.

From this article in Nature, it looks like the answer may very well be "yes," and not just birds of prey, though it apparently varies from bird to bird just how much.

The question, then, is "Now what?" Store owners and shoppers (including me!) aren't going to get any fonder of rats, nor is anyone whose house and backyard has ever been invaded by the creatures. Alternate poisons are one possibility, but any poison is going to have some effect (and almost certainly some unexpected effect).

I have no idea, incidentally, what specific poison the folk around Bartlett Park are using, nor can I swear the traps are still there; I'm no longer living where it's easy just to run across and look. It's just something to think about.

(1) Not this particular pair. These were taken at Bartlett Park on a different day. It's been an ongoing concern.

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