why do raptors matter?
Keeping the Balance
Raptors feed at the top of many food chains: mice, field rats, rabbits, squirrels and other rodents, as well as fish, insects, amphibians and reptiles. Birds of prey help to balance the size of these populations. Raptors ingest a minimum of one rodent a day that helps in controlling the rodent population in towns, orchards & vineyards.
Raptors have been called “ecological barometers,” which simply means they help us gauge the health of a habitat. Because raptors are extremely sensitive to changes in their environment, higher chemical & pollutant levels can cause their numbers to decrease. This may alert scientists to an impending environmental issue.
Since many of the smaller raptors feed on insects and larger ones prey on rodents, many farmers truly appreciate them. Grasshoppers, cutworms, as well as rabbits and field mice are capable of destroying entire fields of crops if left to reproduce freely without birds of prey to feed on them. If a farmer can control pests by natural predation, he has no need to use pesticides or insecticides, thus helping protect the environment.
Raptors are an essential part of our valley ecosystem.
Did you know?
Dangers to raptors
Raptors often hunt along roads and highways were headlights make prey more visible in the adjacent grassy areas. As they focus on their prey, they may cross low over a roadway, leading to vehicle collisions. Collisions with other objects including fences, powerlines and barbed wire can result in painful and sometimes fatal, entanglements.
If windows don’t have blinds, curtains or a decal they appear invisible causing serious injury or death. To protect raptors, add features that make windows more visible.
When poison is used for a rodent problem, it takes several days for the rodent to die after consumption. The poison makes them hemorrhage internally - a very slow, cruel death. Once a raptor, mammal or house pet consumes the affected rodent, it then is poisoned and causes the same painful effect.
Remember the safest way to remove rodents is with traps, not poison.
Fragments from discarded lead like ammunition and fishing tackle can get ingested and lead to symptoms including loss of coordination, inability to stand, blindness, and respiratory issues and death.
Raptors often perch on utility poles since they offer a comfortable place to rest as well as a good vantage point to spot prey. They can easily make accidental contact to live conduit, resulting in death.