It's that time of year again... Every winter, vet clinics see an influx of owls. The reason is that when rodents flock indoors to escape the cold, humans become desperate to be rid of them. We poison the rodents and they become slow and easy to catch, or die and make a quick meal for a hungry bird of prey. But the poison in the rodent can affect birds too, making them weaker and weaker until they injure themselves, starve, or simply pass out, where humans can then easily pick them up. Unfortunately by this stage, vets lose most of them despite intensive care. Poisons are not an effective long term control for rodents. Bird and Exotic Animal suggest humane traps, removing food sources and shelters for the rodents, sealing all their possible entrances, and encouraging their predators. If for whatever reason poison must be used, consider strict indoor use only (this can be very hard to control) and being sure to dispose of poisoned bodies securely.
The saddest part in all of this is that in trying to be rid of rodents, we're also killing our natural rodent control as well.
Photo and article courtesy of the Bird and Exotic Animal Clinic