Sector

09 December 2020

New barn owl study finds improved breeding performance, says CRRU

Barn owl breeding success last year (2019) was four percent higher, at 2.66 fledglings per nest, than the preceding four-year average, according to a new report from the Campaign for Responsible Rodenticide Use.

On the same basis, a 17% increase was also found in the percentage of nests that produced fledglings.

CRRU-barn-owl-nreeding

These findings are from the annual Barn Owl Monitoring Scheme (BOMS), one of the formal surveillance studies for the UK Rodenticide Stewardship Regime, operated by CRRU and overseen by a Health and Safety Executive-led Government Oversight Group.

This latest report explains that breeding productivity can vary markedly from year to year. It attributes this primarily to changes at critical times of the breeding cycle in the abundance of prey - mainly voles and field mice - and extreme weather, such as 2013's Beast from the East.

The barn owl is nominated by HSE as a sentinel for other rural predators of small mammals that are also exposed to second generation anticoagulant rodenticides (SGARs). The BOMS report points out that the impact, if any, of this exposure on barn owl breeding "is difficult to quantify directly".

The scheme's purpose includes to provide context for separate analysis, also funded by CRRU, of rodenticide residues in barn owls. The next annual Rodenticide Residues in Barn Owls report on samples collected in 2019 will be published soon.

In the 2018 sample reported last year, detectable anticoagulant rodenticide residues were found in 87% of barn owls.

Regardless whether residues affect breeding performance or not, CRRU chairman Dr Alan Buckle says they are clearly unacceptable and consistent professionalism is essential among all pest controllers, farmers and gamekeepers.

"Best practice by a responsible majority is not enough," he urges, "it's a must for everyone, without exception or excuses.

"In 2021, subject of course to easing of coronavirus measures, there will be an official in-depth review of the stewardship regime's implementation and impact on wildlife. To be judged effective, lasting reductions in rodenticide residues carried by non-target wildlife are expected by the oversight group.

"Without such evidence, we might anticipate further restrictions on how rodenticides can be used, and by whom. Clearly, responsibility is squarely in users' own hands."

BOMS and Rodenticide Residues reports can be downloaded from thinkwildlife.org.

Source: CRRU press release

Highlights View all news

12 January 2021

Latest news

BPCA asks health secretary for pest professionals to get Covid-19 vaccine

BPCA has written to the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care to ask that pest professionals and other key workers are prioritised appropriately for the Covid-19 vaccine. Ian Andr

Read more

05 January 2021

Latest news

2021 Covid-19 lockdowns: what do pest professionals need to know?

With England and Scotland announcing national lockdowns, Wales in tier 4 restrictions and Northern Ireland tightening measures – we take a moment to highlight some of BPCA’s Covid-19 gui

Read more

30 November 2020

Latest news

Professional Pest Controller issue 101 (PPC101) out now

CONTENTS | PPC101 DECEMBER 2020 Professional pest controller magazine issue 101 is out now and available to read online for free. The magazine can be read online or dow

Read more
Latest View all news

13 January 2021

Latest news

Brexit: Post-transition readiness for businesses

Following the end of the Brexit transition period, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy has released advice for businesses on the new rules.  BPCA recommends ev

Read more

13 January 2021

Latest news

Free Covid-19 lateral flow tests for asymptomatic key workers

In an effort to overcome the pandemic, the UK government has announced free Covid-19 lateral flow tests (LFT) for people without coronavirus symptoms.  The tests can return results in 30 m

Read more

12 January 2021

Latest news

Fly control essential for food businesses, says Rentokil

BPCA member company Rentokil has highlighted the dangers of fly infestations in food environments, and the harm this can cause to businesses. The company said that flies are one of the mo

Read more