1. Raptors Keep Rodent and Small-Bird Populations Under Control
I have been a rehabilitator of diurnal (daytime) raptors for 20-plus years in Ontario. Here at the Open Sky Raptor Foundation, many birds of prey come in for one reason or another, but I would estimate that about 95 per cent of the injuries are caused by humans.
Most of these are defined as “unintentional,” meaning the birds sustain injuries from collisions with vehicles or windows; hydro lines; getting caught in fencing; fishing line or netting used in fruit farms; or even getting trapped in chimneys or buildings under construction. Other injuries are classified as “intentional,” meaning the bird has been shot, caught in a leg-hold trap, poisoned or is being kept by well-meaning people who aren’t aware that these birds need to be properly cared for before being released back into the wild.
Humans, as a species, have destroyed wildlife habitats at an alarming rate, and although we may have good intentions when it comes to helping out wildlife, if we don’t know what we are doing or understand what is required for that wildlife, we could do more harm than good.
Raptors play a very important role in our ecosystem. Not only do they help keep rodent and small-bird populations on an even keel, they are also a barometer as to what is going on in our environment. The destructive nature of the pesticide DDT, for example, which was banned many years ago, was brought to the forefront because of a drop in numbers of peregrine falcons—although the product also affected several other bird species.
Hundreds of wildlife species face extinction in Canada—but it’s not too late to save them!