Leading ornithologists in Ukraine and Russia are spreading news of repeated die-offs of hundreds of cranes, as well as swans, ducks and other birds in southern Ukraine. Through laboratory analysis and tracking data, they have determined the cause of mortality to be ingestion of rodenticide. This poison is being broadcast across large areas of fields, instead of inserted into rodent burrows and covered with dirt per manufacturer’s instructions. These avian mortalities have increased as the spring migration period has begun.
The area over which rodenticide is being unsafely applied includes important habitat for the threatened and declining resident population of Great Bustards in Ukraine. These areas are also used as migratory stopovers for the globally important population of Great Bustards breeding in the lower Volga River region. The Chair of the IUCN Bustard Specialist Group and Eurasian Bustard Alliance are authoring a letter to Ukrainian authorities to request their engagement to ensure rodenticides are used appropriately, to limit harm to wildlife.
A summary of the situation authored by the biologists can be found here [pdf]