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Influence of poisoned prey on foraging behavior of ferruginous hawks

January 31, 2017

We recorded 19 visits by ferruginous hawks (Buteo regalis) over 6 d at two black–tailed prairie dog (Cynomys ludovicianus) subcolonies poisoned with the rodenticide Rozol® Prairie Dog Bait (0.005% chlorophacinone active ingredient) and at an adjacent untreated subcolony. Before Rozol® application ferruginous hawks foraged in the untreated and treated subcolonies but after Rozol® application predation by ferruginous hawks was only observed in the treated subcolonies. We suggest that ferruginous hawks' preference for hunting in the treated subcolonies after Rozol® application was influenced by the availability of easy-to-capture prey, presumably due to Rozol® poisoning. The energetically beneficial behavior of favoring substandard prey may increase raptor encounters with rodenticide exposed animals if prey vulnerability has resulted from poisoning.