Rats can be a terrible problem for birds - attacking nests, raiding bird feeders and even killing adult birds, but the solution to a rat problem can be even more terrible for the birds it is trying to protect. According to Nature.com, blood-thinning poisons meant for rats are building up in the food chain and can be just as deadly to birds of prey, similar to the accumulation of DDT in raptors in the 1970s.
A recent study of more than 100 dead raptors near Vancouver discovered high levels of the toxins from rat poisons in nearly all of the carcasses. Now, conservation groups are seeking to pass laws restricting the use of the poisons in order to better protect native wildlife. Careful regulation and responsible use can greatly decrease the risks raptors face.
Learn about other risks to raptors, including how you can help protect birds of prey.
Photo © Hilary Chambers