Anticoagulant rodenticides (AR) have been used globally to manage commensal rodents for decades. However their application has also resulted in primary, secondary, and tertiary poisoning in wildlife. Widespread exposure to ARs (primarily second generation ARs; SGARs) in raptors and avian scavengers has triggered considerable conservation concern over their potential effects on populations. To identify risk to extant raptor and avian scavenger populations in Oregon and potential future risk to the California condor (Gymnogyps californianus) flock recently established in northern California, we assessed AR exposure and physiological responses in two avian scavenger species (common ravens [Corvus corax] and turkey vultures [Cathartes aura]) throughout Oregon between 2013 and 2019. AR exposure was widespread with 51% (35/68) of common ravens and 86% (63/73) of turkey vultures containing AR residues. The more acutely toxic SGAR brodifacoum was present in 83% and 90% of AR exposed common ravens and turkey vultures. The odds of AR exposure in common ravens were 4.7-fold higher along the coastal region compared to interior Oregon. For common ravens and turkey vultures that were exposed to ARs, respectively, 54% and 56% had concentrations that exceeded the 5% probability of toxicosis (>20 ng/g ww; Thomas et al., 2011), and 20% and 5% exceeded the 20% probability of toxicosis (>80 ng/g ww; Thomas et al., 2011). Common ravens exhibited a physiological response to AR exposure with fecal corticosterone metabolites increasing with sum ARs (ΣAR) concentrations. Both female common raven and turkey vultures’ body condition was negatively correlated with increasing ΣAR concentrations. Our results suggest avian scavengers in Oregon are experiencing extensive AR exposure and the newly established population of California condors in northern California may experience similar AR exposure if they feed in southern Oregon. Understanding the sources of ARs across the landscape is an important first step in reducing or eliminating AR exposure in avian scavengers.
|Title||Anticoagulant rodenticides are associated with increased stress and reduced body condition of avian scavengers in the Pacific Northwest|
|Authors||Garth Herring, Collin Eagles-Smith, Jeremy A. Buck|
|Publication Subtype||Journal Article|
|Series Title||Environmental Pollution|
|Record Source||USGS Publications Warehouse|
|USGS Organization||Forest and Rangeland Ecosystem Science Center|