As the home to two young eaglets for the first time (that we know of), some of our property owners have taken a look at what they could do to improve the eagles chances of surviving, thriving and returning year after year, or staying year-round as some have started to do at Innsbrook. Here is one Innsbrook property owner’s plan and suggestion to others to keep the eagles and other beloved wildlife just a bit safer. These suggestions are good for anyone who wants to live more harmoniously with the wildlife in their area.
The Rodent Issue: How to Live with and without them the Innsbrook Way
“At Innsbrook, we value harmony, balance and nature. We build adorable little treehouses in the woods, we golf on a “green” course, we drive electric golf carts and visit with our neighbors while walking the nature trails and roads. We care about the serenity of the lake and lake water quality, so we boat without gas motors and encourage sailboats and kayaks. We talk with great excitement about some of our newest residents, the mated pair of bald eagles.
Photo by Kurt White
Along with their pair of eaglets, approximately 9-10 weeks old. Though getting quite big, they are still in the nest and being fed by mom and dad for now.
Photo by Kurt White
All of this speaks to one of the joys of ownership at Innsbrook – all the wildlife that calls our community their home. We delight at seeing the deer, fox, hawks, owls and snakes. (Well, I have a friend who’s not too excited about seeing snakes in person, but she still appreciates the fact that they are there.)
So, what does this have to do with rodents? A lot, actually. In our haste to keep the “nature” out of our living quarters, some use a contraption called a bait box outside and under their chalets. It’s a black box with two holes in it and is probably attached to a support post lying on the ground. The holes are sizable and inside the box is poison: rodenticide.
What a bait box may look like
When the rodent enters the hole, it eats the rodenticide and leaves through the other side, almost like a drive-thru. These bait boxes are certainly convenient – there is no clean-up and the perceived rodent problem is out of sight, out of mind.
But without realizing it, when we use this type of rodent management, we are making an unhealthy choice for all that we hold dear at Innsbrook. How? These boxes are not intended to be used outside because of what they have inside – poison that is developed to be appealing in both taste and smell to rodents. Because they are placed outside our properties, we are actually inviting rodents to come have a free meal. The bait can take several days to become fatal, so the animal that feeds can then move along into the nest, woods or stomachs of our most cherished predators: bobcats, fox, hawks, owls, eagles and our own dogs and cats.
Photo by William A. Moran
When the rodent becomes poisoned and then food for a predator, this is called secondary poisoning. Secondary poisoning can kill these animals outright or make them very sick – shortening their lives or affecting their reproduction.
So what are the alternatives you can put in place right now?
First, remove the bait boxes. If you have a pest/rodent management team, you can ask them to remove it or remove it yourself and ask them to pick it up on their next visit. You may need a pair of wire cutters to cut the metal strap that is holding the box.
Next, repair any openings in your home.
Third, keep your inside space clean so as not to attract hungry critters. Rodents follow their noses to find food, so don’t give them any reason to try getting into your space.
- Last, if you do have a rodent problem on your property, please consider using a snap trap first, then the animal can be ‘donated’ back to nature. Or ask a professional to only use a system that does not allow the rodent to get back outside your property. There are several other bait boxes on the market.
Harmony, balance and nature are important to our Innsbrook community. Putting these principles into action is what brought us to Innsbrook and is what we strive to maintain. Please remove the bait boxes and rodenticide, and take a simple step to create a more harmonious and balanced natural environment at Innsbrook.”
For additional reading on this topic:
-Allison V., Innsbrook property owner