Toxicological responses to sublethal anticoagulant rodenticide exposure in free-flying hawks

Environmental Science and Pollution Research
By: , and 



An important component of assessing the hazards of anticoagulant rodenticides to non-target wildlife is observations in exposed free-ranging individuals. The objective of this study was to determine whether environmentally realistic, sublethal first-generation anticoagulant rodenticide (FGAR) exposures via prey can result in direct or indirect adverse effects to free-flying raptors. We offered black-tailed prairie dogs (Cynomys ludovicianus) that had fed on Rozol® Prairie Dog Bait (Rozol, 0.005% active ingredient chlorophacinone, CPN) to six wild-caught red-tailed hawks (RTHA, Buteo jamaicensis), and also offered black-tailed prairie dogs that were not exposed to Rozol to another two wild-caught RTHAs for 7 days. On day 6, blood was collected to determine CPN’s effects on blood clotting time. On day 7, seven of the eight RTHAs were fitted with VHF radio telemetry transmitters and the RTHAs were released the following day and were monitored for 33 days. Prothrombin time (PT) and Russell’s viper venom time confirmed that the CPN-exposed RTHAs were exposed to and were adversely affected by CPN. Four of the six CPN-exposed RTHAs exhibited ptiloerection, an indication of thermoregulatory dysfunction due to CPN toxicity, but no signs of intoxication were observed in the reference hawk or the remaining two CPN-exposed RTHAs. Of note is that PT values were associated with ptiloerection duration and frequency; therefore, sublethal CPN exposure can directly or indirectly evoke adverse effects in wild birds. Although our sample sizes were small, this study is a first to relate coagulation times to adverse clinical signs in free-ranging birds.

Study Area

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Toxicological responses to sublethal anticoagulant rodenticide exposure in free-flying hawks
Series title Environmental Science and Pollution Research
DOI 10.1007/s11356-022-20881-z
Edition Online First
Year Published 2022
Language English
Publisher Springer
Contributing office(s) Eastern Ecological Science Center
Country United States
State Colorado
Other Geospatial Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge
Google Analytic Metrics Metrics page
Additional publication details