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Author, Healer, Nutritionalist and Professional Speaker.

Where Have All the Owls Gone?

Dr Jean

One of the joys of living in the country is listening to the sounds of nature. A gurgling brook down the hill from the house, crickets and frogs and all the many birds are precious and delightful music. When I first started living here, nighttime was punctuated by the assorted hoots and screeches of various owls. For the last couple of years I have noticed the absence the delightful calls of these magnificent birds save for an occasional rare one in the distance. It is also painfully obvious that there is an overabundance of mice, chipmunks and squirrels in the area.

I recently spoke with a neighbor about this a few weeks ago. His regular home is in Florida and he has a cabin here in the mountains where he and his family spend a few weeks out of the year. Also distressed by the number of mice and related damage, he said that he left out a number of poison mousetraps around his cottage when he left, hoping to reduce the rodent population. When he returned a few months later, his next-door neighbor told him two of her dogs died after chewing up the poisoned bait containers he left out. He felt bad about this and we discussed how poison meant for rodents may very well be the cause of the declining number of owls and other wildlife that feed on rodents not to mention neighbors’ dogs and cats. We could not help but realize that predatory birds and snakes could eat a mouse that may have just ingested poison and worse, feeding it to its offspring.

There is no easy answer for the problem of invading mice and rats and the damage that they do but poison is definitely the wrong way to deal with the situation. Although old-fashioned mousetraps are certainly unpleasant to use, at least they do not upset the delicate balance of nature in so far as killing the predators of these rodents. I purchased an electronic mousetrap from Ace that works great and does not endanger pets or birds.

Isn’t it time we banned the use of rodenticides like Decon before more damage is done to our wildlife? This is so obvious that no proof is really necessary. Although the makers of these poison pellets would stress that they advise people to exercise caution in the storage or use of their product, there is no controlling the actions of a mouse or rat that has just ingested poison. They will be an easy target for anything that will eat a rodent. Although the poison dehydrates the dead rodent, their remains can easily be eaten by other wildlife that consumes carrion before this occurs. Carrion is an important food source for carnivores and omnivores in most ecosystems.

To all who read this article I implore you to discontinue the use of this manner of controlling pests. If you care about our Earth and its delicate balance, urge the ban of poison pellets to kill rodents. If we all speak out, we will be heard.