Birds being Poisoned

Potent Rat Poisons Killing Wildlife
SACRAMENTO, Calif., USA (April 21, 2011)—A new generation of highly toxic, long-lasting poisons intended for rodents is also killing the animals that feed on them. Sold variously as D-Con, Havoc, Talon, Tomcat Ultra, and Just One Bite, the poisons are used in warehouses, at apartment complexes, on golf courses, and even on nature sanctuaries, killing not only rats and mice but non-target species such as bobcats, coyotes, kit foxes, owls, and hawks. Companies have been developing more lethal compounds because rats and mice have developed resistance to older poisons such as warfarin (which is also used as a prescription blood thinner).
Research by Stella McMillin, an environmental scientist with the pesticide investigations unit of the California Department of Fish and Game, as well as by others, shows that exposure to rat [poison] is widespread, especially in and near urban areas. Around Bakersfield, 79% of endangered San Joaquin kit foxes tested have turned up positive for rodenticide. Near Los Angeles, 90% percent of bobcats sampled had rat poison in their blood. Research by Seth Riley, a wildlife ecologist with the National Park Service, has linked rat poison exposure to a rare, often-fatal form of mange in southern California bobcats.
The problem isn’t limited to California. When owls in western Canada were tested, 70% had rat poison in their livers. In New York, 265 raptors tested positive for poison and, in Great Britain, half of all barn owls tested were contaminated.
Maggie Sergio, director of advocacy at WildCare, a [San Francisco] Bay Area wildlife rehabilitation center that has responded to many poisoning cases, says rodenticides are the new DDT, killing nature’s own rodent control.
Researchers say the federal government has been slow to respond to the problem, which has been building for more than a decade. This June, after years of study, regulations take effect nationwide banning the most toxic, long-lasting rat poi- sons from hardware stores, big box home improvement centers, and other consumer outlets. But many feel the move does not go far enough, since the poisons can be purchased from other sources.
Sales of small packets and blocks will be banned, but larger bait blocks will continue to be available at farm stores. Licensed commercial pesticide applicators will still be able to use these poisons. Another possible source of exposure for wildlife is marijuana farms. McMillin told the Sacramento Bee that when the growers are busted, law enforcement officers usually find a lot of pesticides. “And obviously they are not being careful to use them legally.”