Officials confirm first bald eagle death in MA due to rodenticides

MassWildlife officials confirmed that a bald eagle that died in March was the victim of second-generation anticoagulant rodenticide (SGAR) poisoning. This is the first confirmed case in the state.

Officials wrote that anticoagulant rodenticides cause fatal hemorrhages in animals and that wildlife can be poisoned in two ways: eating the bait directly, which results in death several days later, or through secondary poisoning by eating prey that has consumed the bait.

“The struggle to control mice and rats is usually viewed in terms of humans vs. rodents, but wildlife such as birds of prey are often not recognized as players in this battle,” said Director of Tufts Wildlife Clinic Dr. Maureen Murray. “Many people are surprised to learn that the mouse poison they use in their basement can also kill the great horned owl hooting in the neighborhood.”

However, MassWildlife officials added the overall population of bald eagles in throughout the state is recovering and growing. To prevent further SGAR poisoning deaths, though, MassWildlife and Tufts Wildlife Clinic both suggests to consider alternatives to poison when dealing with pests and to request pest control companies to avoid using SGAR products.