Barbados has a variety of birds as bird lovers can testify.

In our gardens, the most common are sparrows, humming birds, yellow breasted birds and black birds (Quiscalus lugubris).

These black birds with their intelligent looking golden eyes are bold enough to enter open style restaurants for bread crumbs and scraps of food left on tables. They seem to travel in groups and eat a variety of foods. If they find a crushed Black African Snail on the road for example, lots of them will come and fight to take possession of anything they can eat from the dead snail.

Most people leave a bowl or two of water outside daily for their dogs to drink. Neighbours who do not have dogs but who have probems with rodents put out rat poison freely around their properties. Some of the popular rat poisons are in a small pellet form, some are in a thickish cube shape and some are in a roundish shape. Black birds, in their search for food, have the intelligence that if they pick up something to eat that needs to be softened, they drop it in water.

Black birds will fly with the rodent poison (the one in cubes or a round shape) in their beaks and drop it in the dogs’ water bowls. I have actually witnessed this happen.

The lesson to be learnt is to move the dogs’ water bowl to the far side of a garage or some place not readily frequented by the black birds. Black birds, unlike sparrows, do not usually come inside what to them is a “house” area. But they love the open spaces in gardens, walk ways and decks.

It is very possible that the birds themselves do not get poisoned as they cannot swallow the poisoned cube or round shaped rat bait but they are the carriers of the poison from one property to another.

Blackbirds in Barbados

Blackbirds in Barbados

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