New year brings uptick in bird poisonings for Okanagan rehab centre | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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New year brings uptick in bird poisonings for Okanagan rehab centre

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March 13, 2021 - 5:00 PM

An avian rehabilitation centre in the South Okanagan has seen an increase in bird poisonings and is telling residents to stop using poison to deal with rodents.

Last year, the SORCO Raptor Rehab Centre saw 10 birds that were poisoned, but in the first three months of the year it's already had reports of five poisoned birds in the Okanagan, said Dale Belvedere, manager of the centre.

READ MORE: Staff at Okanagan owl rehab centre trying to understand the reason behind poisoning

The poison normally used to kill rodents can be passed along to birds of prey, and even cats, Belvedere said.

“In recent years, we are seeing an (increase) of secondary poisoning. I do have one here now that is definitely secondary poisoning so it’s a shame that people are using this poison where there are other resources to get rid of the rodent problem,” she said.

Poisoning incidents are higher in the spring and fall when residents typically notice rodents are around, Belvedere said.

If a bird has been poisoned, they’ll go blind, can start to have tremors, and will lose the use of their talons since they’ll clench, she said.

Unless the birds get the medication immediately upon seeing the first symptoms, they likely won’t survive, she said. It takes six to eight weeks for a raptor to recover.

This week, a dead owl found in Trout Creek near Summerland gathered some social media attention but Belvedere couldn’t confirm if it was poisoned.

Historically, Trout Creek has had a rodent problem. Years ago, the centre released a few owls years ago to help deal with the problem, she said.

Belvedere recommends using old-fashioned traps to get rid of rodents and the rats will be attracted to a food source so for residents to avoid keeping out food sources. 

“We've tried over many years educate the public for years to not use poisoning but people seem to think it’s easier than using traps,” she said.

For more information on the SORCO Raptor Rehab Centre, visit the centre’s website.

Tracey Reynolds, with the B.C. Wildlife Park, said the park has not seen an increase in reported poisonings this year.


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