News and Activities

Ravens Die From Insecticide Poisoning

Date Posted: May 31, 2000

In early June 1999, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service received reports of a large number (>20) of dead and dying ravens in the Sitka, Alaska area. Several carcasses were sent to the National Fish and Wildlife Forensics Lab in Ashland, Oregon, where results confirmed that the ravens died from poisoning by the insecticide Diazinon. The ravens apparently foraged on lawns that had been treated with a granular form of Diazinon, applied to control European crane flies (Tipulidae), which are an introduced turf pest. The birds appear to have pulled up sections of grass and either ate granular Diazinon or consumed poisoned European crane fly larvae. In response to this incident, Alaskan Service staff from Environmental Contaminants, Migratory Bird Management, and Law Enforcement are working cooperatively with the Alaska Cooperative Extension Service and the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation to publicize this problem and develop outreach materials. Service contaminants staff recently gave a presentation entitled “Raven deaths in Sitka and organophosphate pesticide applications to control European crane fly larvae”, at the Alaska Bird Conference in Sitka. In addition to this presentation, the Agencies plan on having fact sheets available at garden centers and at Alaska garden shows, as well as a hand-out for the State pesticide applicators certification class.

Deborah Rudis, (907) 586-7648.

Last updated: June 12, 2015