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Raptor Rehab treating birds ingesting poison in Louisville's east end

Since July 1, 14 birds have come into Raptor Rehab showing signs of poisoning.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — This is the time of your when you’re probably working on keeping your lawn looking clean and healthy – but what you’re using for upkeep could be harming birds.

Raptor Rehab has recently had a lot of birds of prey brought in with signs of poisoning.

Many of the birds coming in have been found in the east end of Louisville.

This year Raptor Rehab has seen 25 birds come in with signs of poisoning. Fourteen of those have been since July 1, and those are specifically Cooper’s hawks and red shouldered hawks. 

Signs of poisoning in birds include seizures and lack of muscle control.

There have been so many recently because this is the time of year when young birds are learning to fly. They are spending a lot of time of the ground. If there are herbicides or pesticides on the ground, the birds will get it on their feathers, and then ingest it when they are cleaning themselves.

RELATED: Kentucky Fish and Wildlife advises cease of bird feeding in Jefferson County amid influx of illness reports

Also – they are being poisoned by rodenticides. It will take a while for a mouse or rat to die after ingesting the poison, so if a bird eats the rodent, it will be poisoned too.

If you want to take care of your pest problems, there are still ways to do that while still being conscious of the birds.

“Things like milky spore are a great way to treat some of the grubs in your grass to help keep your grass clean and healthy and that is a nontoxic way that you can help with the birds,” Raptor Rebab Board of Directors President Dave Dicks said.  “As far as mouse and rat poison, there are some great toxic-free types of traps out there.”

Right now there are 160 birds on the Raptor Rehab property, and they see between 300 and 400 birds annually.

If you see an injured bird of prey, contact Raptor Rehab. Someone will either come to pick the bird up, or they can talk you through how to bring it in.

Another way to help is with a fish donation. If you are a fisherman or woman, you can pull the hook from the fish, freeze the fish whole and make an appointment to bring by the donation. The recovering birds will thank you!


Contact reporter Rose McBride at rmcbride@whas11.com or on Facebook or Twitter. 

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