Hawks More Effective than Poison for Rodent Control, Study Finds

April 21, 2018 at 4:02 pm

Rat poison kills large mammals, including endangered species. Study finds hawks are more effective and environmentally friendly.

Rodents are out of control in California. Not only are they a nuisance to farmers, they are damaging levees, earth dams and other flood control channels.

Until now county governments have been dealing with the pests using rat poison or rodenticide.

The problem with poison is it travels up the food chain, killing owls, coyotes, bobcats and even endangered mountain lions, who eat the rodents.

In order to solve the problem, Ventura County conducted a study to see if increasing the population of predator birds such as hawks and owls could be more effective at rodent control than poison.

Not surprisingly, they were.

Over the course of 17 months, the country released hawks and owls into highly populated rodent areas. The birds reduced burrowing damage by 50 percent more than the anticoagulant rodenticides.

The results prompted the Ventura County Board of Supervisors to order all county agencies to discontinue the use of rodenticides and other poisons on public lands.

“We believe the VCPWA Raptor Pilot Study is the first to quantify the dramatic impact of attracting raptors and finds a natural, chemical-free way to control burrowing rodents,” said Karl Novak, VCPWA Deputy Director of Operations and Maintenance in a press release. “We think that comprehensive monitoring and continued expansion of the raptor program will result in cost effective and environmentally safe rodent control throughout our watersheds.”

Farmers and gardeners can attract birds of prey to their property by providing nesting zones, tree cover, perches and water and by keeping dogs and noisy people out of the area.

For more details click here.

RELATED: Rat Poison is Killing Endangered Mountain Lions in California