Date: 1/6/18 10:35 pm From: Chris Hartzell <c.hartzell...> Subject: Re: [MBBIRDS] Is there a rodent outbreak? -YES
The simple answer is yes, there is. Going on a second year irruption of both Wood Rats and different Mice species. This is happening in multiple states from what I am hearing. Multiple automobile dealerships, mechanics, construction workers, and pest control people I have talked with in the last several months have seen a tremendous spike in rodent related infestation and damage. Subaru and Toyota have gone the last 10 years averaging about 10-20 cars with rodent damage. Last year they went to almost 100, this year over 200. Our outlying fire stations and engines have gone many years with minimal problems. My station has gone with a handful over the last 5 years. Starting the middle of last year, we caught 25 in 3 days. All our outlying stations are seeing a massive infestation as well. When I responded to the fire over in Fort Ord, I pulled up and watched literally over a hundred rats running from the fire. I had never seen this many so condensed before. It is not just here either. I am hearing almost the same reports out of multiple locations in Oregon, much of Montana, and friends in Salt Lake City are reporting similar. I have talked with some biologists and naturalists about it. As far as I have heard, there is no research actually being done and no one seems to be doing any formal study on it. Therefore the cause seems to be speculative as far as I've found out. So far the most supportive guess is a combination of reduction in predators and increase in drought type conditions. Drier climates have allowed for a spread in certain vegetation that is conducive to rodent spread while there also seems to be a drop in predators. I've noticed at my home and many of our stations that regular occurrences of bobcats and coyotes have gone down significantly. Additionally, I heard from many firefighters what seemed to be the lowest run-ins with snakes on fires in many many years. Personally, getting around and talking with people, I think it is a combination of inadvertent poisoning through rodent control, more hunting/trapping, and increased traffic resulting in more roadkill. I don't know why and haven't heard why there might be such a reduction in snakes.
Anyway, there is a major rodent problem. It cost Ame and I $1800 in repairs to two vehicles and six other personnel at my station have had their vehicles damaged. So keep the hoods up when it doesn't rain and put non-poison traps in the motor when you have to close the hood. The rodent problem is a major issue! -Chris Hartzell
From: DEBRA SHEARWATER <debiluv...>
Sent: Saturday, January 6, 2018 9:58 PM
Subject: [MBBIRDS] Is there a rodent outbreak?
San Benito County has an abundance of Barn Owls, even in the worst of times. However, lately I have counted more BARN OWLS than usual. For instance, last night I saw 23 Barn Owls, 18 of which were along John Smith Road. This road is only 2.8 miles long. I did not use playback or a spotlight. The owls are easy to see, either sitting on fenceposts or utility wires.
http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S41687083 Although the dump is located on John Smith Road, I have not encountered such a high number of Barn Owls in the past. I did see 10 Barn Owls one night a couple weeks ago, along this same road.
I’m wondering if anyone else is encountering larger than usual numbers of Barn Owls. If so, please email me directly: <debi...>
If you drive this road, please do not use spotlights because Great-horned Owls also occur on this road, and they may predate the Barn Owls.
Happy Trails,Debi Shearwater
DEBRA SHEARWATERShearwater Journeys, Inc.PO Box 190Hollister, CA <95024831.637.8527debi...>
Celebrating 42 Years of Seabirding with Shearwater JourneysSiberia’s Forgotten Coast & Spoon-billed Sandpiper-2019Galapagos Islands: 30 October - 12 November 2019