Last month we received a total of 22 poisoned Rock Pigeons from the Stearn's Wharf area in Santa Barbara.
After receiving the initial 15 birds in a five day time period, we reported the incident to the United States Fish and Wildlife Service. The deceased pigeons were sent to the Wildlife Investigations Laboratory to perform necropsies (an autopsy on an animal). It was determined that the poison used was a neurotoxin called Avitrol, a potassium inhibitor that causes convulsions and eventual death in high doses. In extremely lethal doses Avitrol can cause death in less than an hour, however many birds can suffer for several hours from the effects of the poison.
Although Avitrol is marketed as a "flock frightening agent" toward target birds, it can cause non-targeted species poisoning resulting in potential harm to other wildlife, pets, and even children. The six pigeons that were successfully released were treated for three weeks at our facility.
There are alternative ways to deter wildlife, including the use of signs to discourage people from feeding them in public areas, exclusion barriers and owl boxes.
To read more about Avitrol and its effect on wildlife, please refer to the following Humane Society article:
Avitrol® Bird Poison Not the Solution to Nuisance Bird Populations
Welcome to the SBWCN Blog