West Coast
This 2011 file photo shows Melissa Pitkin, with the Point Reyes Bird Observatory, holding an Ashy Storm-Petrel chick on south east Farallon Island off the coast of San Francisco, Ca.

Exterminating mice would protect rare sea birds on Farallones, study says

The proposed extermination of hordes of house mice on the Farallon Islands would protect a fast-diminishing population of rare sea birds by halting rampant, unnatural predation by owls, said a study released Monday.

The study by Point Blue Conservation Science found that the elimination of mice would stabilize or even increase the number of Ashy storm petrels, a small gray seabird that has been dying at an unprecedented rate in the talons of burrowing owls that linger on the islands every year to eat mice.

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