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Arch Environ Contam Toxicol. 2010 Feb;58(2):451-9. doi: 10.1007/s00244-009-9402-z. Epub 2009 Oct 14.

Anticoagulant rodenticides in three owl species from Western Canada, 1988-2003.

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  • 1Science and Technology Branch, Environment Canada, Pacific and Yukon Region, Delta, BC, V4K 3N2, Canada.


Anticoagulant rodenticides are widely used to control rodent infestations. Previous studies have shown that nontarget organisms, such as birds, are at risk for both primary and secondary poisoning. This paper presents rodenticide residue information on the livers from 164 strigiformes which included barn owls (Tyto alba), barred owls (Strix varia), and great horned owls (Bubo virginianus), collected from 1988 to 2003 in the province of British Columbia and the Yukon Territory, Canada. Livers were analyzed for brodifacoum, bromadiolone, chlorophacinone, diphacinone, difethialone, and warfarin. Our results show that, of the 164 owl livers analyzed, 70% had residues of at least one rodenticide, and of these 41% had more than one rodenticide detected. Of the three species of owls examined, barred owls were most frequently exposed (92%, n = 23); brodifacoum and bromadiolone were most often detected, with liver concentrations ranging from 0.001 to 0.927 mg/kg brodifacoum, and 0.002 to 1.012 mg/kg bromadiolone. Six of the owls (three barred owls, two barn owls, and one great horned owl) were diagnosed as having died from anticoagulant poisoning; all six owls had brodifacoum residues in the liver.

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