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A snowy owl moving in on its prey.

Beautiful birds of prey are vanishing right before our eyes.

Owls and other birds of prey, which are common among the 400 different species of birds in Colorado, are dying after eating mice and rats poisoned with rodenticides.

Weak and dying from rodenticide poisoning, a rodent will exit a home in search of water to be caught and eaten by a bird of prey. The poison in the rodent can eventually cause the natural predator to become very ill and lethargic. Sometimes, consuming the poisoned rodent can result in death, causing the predator to bleed internally from stomach hemorrhages.

A single barn owl can eat up to 1,500 rats, mice, voles, and gophers per year. With the average house mouse weighing in at about .68 ounces, that’s nearly 70 pounds of mice a year.

The video below from Hatteras Island Wildlife Rehabilitation shows a barn owl suffering from rodent poisoning. Unfortunately, in this case like many, the owl did not survive. The non-profit organization recommends using snap traps for rodent problems, as an alternative over glue traps, rodent poisons, and insecticides.

According to a report from the Associated Press, poisoning is extremely difficult to treat, as it takes quite some time for symptoms to start to appear.

The poison kills more than just mice and rats. Studies conducted in Canada, the United States, and Europe have linked rat poisons to the death of a variety of wild predators, including mountain lions, bobcats, coyotes, foxes, skunks, deer, squirrels, possums and raccoons, along with bald eagles, golden eagles, owls, hawks and vultures.

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