Second generation anticoagulant rodenticides (SGARs) are widely used to control rodents around the world. However, contamination by SGARs is detectable in many non-target species, particularly carnivorous mammals or birds-of-prey that hunt or scavenge on poisoned rodents. The SGAR trophic transfer pathway via rodents and their predators/scavengers appears widespread, but little is known of other pathways of SGAR contamination in non-target wildlife. This is despite the detection of SGARs in predators that do not eat rodents, such as specialist bird-eating hawks.
The authors used a Bayesian modelling framework to examine the extent and spatio-temporal trends of SGAR contamination in the livers of 259 Eurasian Sparrowhawks, a specialist bird-eating raptor, in regions of Britain during 1995–2015.
SGARs, predominantly difenacoum, were detected in 81% of birds, with highest concentrations in males and adults.