A negative association between bromadiolone exposure and nestling body condition in common kestrels: management implications for vole outbreaks
BACKGROUND: Vole outbreaks have been extensively described, along with their impacts on humans, particularly in agricultural areas. The use of rodenticides is a common legal practice to minimise crop damage induced by high vole density for biocidal use. However, rodenticides can have negative direct and indirect impacts on non-target species that feed on voles. We studied whether the use of a second-generation anticoagulant rodenticide (SGAR), bromadiolone, can be detected in the blood of fledglings of wild common kestrels Falco tinnunculus in two areas of central Spain, exploring its possible indirect effects.
RESULTS: We found that 16.9% of fledglings had a detectable concentration of bromadiolone in their blood, with an average concentration of 0.248 ± 0.023 ng mL−1 . Fledglings with bromadiolone in their blood, regardless of the concentration, had 6.7% lower body mass than those without detectable bromadiolone.
CONCLUSION: The use of bromadiolone was detectable in the blood of alive non-target species. Detected bromadiolone in blood may reduce the body condition of nestlings, potentially reducing their fitness. The source of bromadiolone found in nestlings needs to be determined in future studies to derive accurate management advice. However, we urge the discontinuation of official SGAR distribution to farmers and their use in agrarian lands to minimise damage of voles on crops, particularly where common kestrels breed, and encourage the use of alternative effective practices.