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Thursday, August 20, 2009

in the news

A few wildlife stories in the media caught my eye today.

The RSPB is receiving upto 100 calls a day during the recent hot spell from people concerned at seeing birds lying with their feathers and wings exposed to the sun (I normally see Blackbirds doing this!).

According to research birds sun themselves after heavy rain, which can cause them to suddenly lose their feathers, beacause it helps to soothe their skin. It is also thought the sun helps straightens the birds' feathers and helps the preen oil to spread through.

Sparrows often have a hot sand bath. They spray sand allover their feathers it is thought the dust soaks up excess preening oil and removes dry skin and mites.

Apparently more than half of Britain's Hedgehogs have been exposed to the anticoagulant chemicals in rat poisions used to kill mice.

A Bristol University team under Dr Claire Dowding started with a sample of 120 dead hedgehogs, brought to wildlife hospitals by members of the public, most of them with accident-related injuries. Dowding analysed the hedgehog's livers looking for traces of anticoagulants.

The results show that 80 hedgehogs had been exposed to the rat poison.

Dowding said

The number of animals affected is quite worrying, and I was really surprised to find such high levels of anticoagulants in the hedgehogs

Few of the hedgehogs showed clear signs of anticoagulant poisoning, such as internal bleeding, the chemicals might says Dowding

be affecting their breeding success, mobility or appetite, or large numbers may be dying out of sight of the general public

and lastly Bird brains prove to be very sexy


Jan said...

Very sad to know about the poor hedgehogs. Had my suspicions anyway, about time bloody rat and mouse poison was banned, the same as other harmful chemicals that man insisted on using without thinking about the consequences. Makes my blood boil when I see "Mouse and Rat Poison" for sale in Pet shops alongside food for pet ones.

oldcrow61 said...

I agree with Jan, makes my blood boil as well. As to the birds, my chickens will lay in the sun on hot days with wings spread. I always figured it was to get some cooling air under the wings. They also roll in dry soil and throw it up over them. Apparently it smothers any bugs on them.

Tricia said...

Sad that hedgehogs are dying this way - especially given the proportion found in the sample! And who knows how many more.....

Liked the "Bird Brains" link - canny females!