Thursday, April 19, 2012

Could Eradibait be the Answer to Stopping Secondary Rodenticide Poisoning in Raptors? And an African Grey Parrot Cam!

Earlier today as I was checking my email, I cruised past the chat room connected to the NYTimes City Blog and Hawk Cam which features Rosie, Bobby, and the two new fuzz heads of the Washington Square Park nest.

I suspect that due to the loses of so many beloved Red-tailed Hawks in New York City, when the words rat poison scrolled by the corner of my eye on the chat, heart in mouth, I focused.  What?  

WHAT INDEED?  Is this a DREAM???

There is actually a rodenticide, apparently non-toxic to everything except rats and mice and there is absolutely no chance of secondary poisoning from it?

Number one, this I had to see!  

Number two, why didn't we know about this before?

My apologies for not nabbing the screen name of the person who was the fount of this information I just grabbed the link and went.

The PDF was on the website of the Barn Owl Trust in the U. K. who are out to save Barn Owls from secondary poisoning.  Barn Owls also are often victims just like our Red-tails...and our owls and other raptors as well.

After comprehensive information concerning the first generation poisons, the second generation poisons, then came the usual first step sane suggestions. 

Number 1-the need to eliminate food sources.
Number 2-the need to eliminate areas of rodent entry. 

Then came Number 3- the folks at the Barn Owl Trust's  recommendations for rat killing.  

Their recommendations were...?

Number 3. Use non-toxic products such as Eradibait (see box)
or alternative methods of killing such as traps, cats,
terriers, ferrets or shooting.

(They're so British and so practical you can just see the tweeds and the sensible shoes can't you.) 

Though Central Park has used traps,  an officially sanctioned Rat Killing Day once a month in which you bring your black- hearted assassin  Fox Terrior, Fred,  or James, your Jack Russel, your pet ferret Francis, or Francine your fluffy Persian cat lusting for blood, and of course your rat killing rifle just didn't seem to be in the cards.


They said (SEE BOX), and I was on it!

Also sold as -
Growing Success Rat & Mouse Killer

Made entirely of food-grade natural vegetable
materials with NO added toxins or artificial

Environmentally safe.

Highly effective against rats and mice (when used
properly) and apparently safe for other species.


For more information and a list of suppliers
please visit or phone the distributors
Ilex EnviroSciences on:
01673 885175

You ask, how does this stuff work?  

"It coats the lining of a specific part of a rodent’s lower gut.  The coating of the “fine hairs” in the lower gut called “villi”, disrupts the message system of the rodent’s brain causing it to stop drinking.  This leads to dehydration, blood thickening, kidney dysfunction, coma and eventual death."

And as rodents can’t vomit and get rid of it, there we are.

Death occurs in 4 to 7 days.

Okay, supposing this really works and is rodent specific, what about other members of rodentia?  What about squirrels?  Can a squirrel vomit?  (I have that query out to some squirrel people. )  Or perhaps more to the point,  they don’t have the same breakdown of brain signals that rats and mice do from coated villi.  Or we use squirrel proof bait boxes.


Here are the links.  Check them out.  I've got my fingers crossed and I'm hoping to see a safe avenue of rat control plus a new rat control brochure in our future. 

Remember hawk watching Jackie Dover of Oklahoma?  She's sent a heads up about a cam that watches Bibi an African Grey.  Bibi has quite the vocabulary to say nothing of personality.  She's well worth a look.

In fact, I can't wait to show the cam to Quicksilver, the Grey who lives with me and see his reaction.  He is constantly attempting to get other birds to talk. The resident pigeons though proven to be extremely smart in any number of ways don't have the double larynx which allows parrots to speak English, and are therefore  a sore disappointment to him. 
Check out Bibi's cam by clicking the link.

Happy Hawking!

Donegal Browne

Wednesday, April 18, 2012


For those interested, it is coming down to the wire in voting for the names of the Washington Square eyasses.  Suggestions were taken earlier, a preliminary vote taken and now is your final chance to vote for your favorite...if you have one.

  •  Archie/Archer & Blake (for the Washington Square arch and the raptor breeder and Hawk Cam chatroom regular John Blakeman)
  • Boo & Scout (from “To Kill a Mockingbird,” which is celebrating its 50th anniversary)
  • Bubble & Squeak (English dish made from leftover vegetables)
  • Castor & Pollux (twin gods said to have been hatched from an egg)
  • Franny & Zooey (J.D. Salinger protagonists)
  • Jem & Scout (see Boo & Scout)
  • Madison/Madi & Lex
  • Monday & Tuesday (the days the hawklings hatched)
  • Nip & Tuck
  • Wind & Willow
 To Vote--

It Looks Like Astoria Park Has a Hatch and More Night Mothering from Mama, Rosie, and Blue Heron Mom plus Unscrewing Ticks

Big News from Jules Corkery one of the chief watchers of the Astoria Red-tailed Hawk nest of Andromeda and Atlas (Who was previously mated to Athena who died of secondary rat poisoning) --  

This morning, Andromeda was sitting in the nest and had switched off with Atlas. Tonight when I got home she was standing up and looking into the nest and this represented obvious change in behavior. It's a very deep bowl so we might not see little ones for a while. Will keep you posted!

Thanks Jules!
The wind is whipping across the nest site of Mama and Papa in Briarwood Queens tonight.  Mama isn't getting much sleep.  She's positioned herself to protect the eyasses from the wind.  Therefore her feathers are repeatedly being bent in the wrong direction.  It isn't easy being a good mom.

Though the wind isn't quite as intense on the Bobst Library nest overlooking Washington Square Park, Rosie has her head tucked up.  Note the eyasss snuggled between Rosie and the windbreak of foraged man made nesting material.

And Great Blue Heron Mom on the Cornell Lab Heron Cam turns  her eggs  in the dark and then settles back in.  The hatch estimate for this nest is the last part of April.  And like Red-tailed eggs, these eggs will hatch asynchronously.

On another topic, this is a big year for ticks.  Personally I've already gotten a half dozen of the little buggers this Spring.  I've nothing on the Langer father and son who went camping the other weekend and managed a whopping count of 26 ticks between them.  

And as you know whenever there are ticks there is discussion about the best removal method.  There is the hot match technique or the drop of acetone technique to name two.  

Well I was talking to Wisconsinite Annie Albright, who said, if you want to know the best way to remove ticks talk to the kids that play outside in the country and get them all the time.

Unbelievably the preferred method for outdoorsy country kids is kind of amazing.  No time to go home for a match or scrunge up their mother's finger nail polish remover, they just take hold of the tick and turn it counter clockwise.  You heard right.  Grab the tick between two fingers and give it a left hand turn.  

According to Annie Albright, you just unscrew them to the left a quarter turn and they come out.  The theory being that they screw themselves into your skin in a clockwise fashion so you counter it and TA DA!!!

Talk about something that sounds way too simple compared to all the strum drang usually associated with getting this creepy beasties off.

I was dying to  try it.  Might even be worth that horrid feeling when you run your hand through your hair, and....YUCK!   I HAVE A TICK!!!!

Of course, have I  gotten a tick since I got this mind boggling unbelievable bit of folk wisdom a few days ago?  Not a chance.  But I started spreading the word and one of the informed did not get a tick but his dog did.  He got hold of said tick turned to the left and guess what?  IT WORKED!

I know, I know, one success- a scientific truth does not make. 

Therefore you, dear  readers,  are now included in this "study".  If you get a tick, try the unscrewing method and let me know how it works  for you.  

I cannot wait to hear!


Donegal Browne

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Night Mothering Red-tailed Hawk Style, Pale Male Feeds Zena, and the Central Park Fire
 Mama of the Briarwood nest snuggles closer and preens a restless eyass then scrutinizes her activity.  Then dozes.  
Current temperature in NYC is 68 F and  wind 11MPH.

 Mama sleeps into sleep again and the little ones continue to wiggle.  Though her eyes open periodically checking on them.  By 2:40AM Mama had snuggled the eyasses up in her brood patch.                 
 Rosie sleeps perched on the lip of the nest, while her eyasses sleep head to tail in the bowl of the nest. By 2:45 Rosie has slightly changed position on the lip and has one foot tucked.

  Pale Male delivers a pigeon to Zena.
                                    Central Park Fire Photos by Stella Hamilton
Long time Hawk Watcher Stella Hamilton was on the spot for the Central Park Fire--

Dear Donna,
 I just thought I'd forward some pictures of the mulch  fire yesterday afternoon in Central Park , behind the Conservatory Garden on 5th and 105th street. I took them with my cell phone so I'm sending them one at a time. There was a red tailed hawk who was present that afternoon who seemed to be interested in the goings on in the park, sat a while closely on a barren tree above the smoke. Sorry I was not able to photograph it, but I did take a shot of it after it had left and caught a pigeon a few yards from the fire. The area behind the Conservancy must be the place where the trees go after they have been cut down.

Talk to you later.

Later word suggested that there was a "controlled burn" that got out of control and set the mountain of mulch afire and could conceivably have burned Central Park and environs had it not been controlled by the NYFD.

 The Red-tail that watched the proceedings takes time out for dinner.

Donegal Browne