Dickson, Ariana – Anticoagulant Rodenticides: Assessment of Non-target Exposure to an Avian Predator

Non-target wildlife are susceptible to secondary poisoning through exposure to anticoagulant rodenticides (ARs). Currently the risks, exposure pathways, and comparative effects of ARs on non-target wildlife are poorly understood. To evaluate the risk of exposure of ARs to birds of prey, we will conduct a multifaceted case study focused on ferruginous hawks (Buteo regalis) to clarify the interplay among raptor behavior, rodent type and behavior, land cover, and anthropogenic factors in nontarget exposure of ARs. We will analyze AR exposure using tissue samples from hawks, and monitor any potential sub-lethal effects on hawks during nesting with cameras.

Finally, because there are few, if any, tools field researchers can use to rapidly decipher AR poisoning in wildlife, we are working to develop a rapid assessment instrument that will assay AR exposure in the field using technology that was initially created for human use.