Re: Nightjars dying in Townsville

To: Alex Appleman <>
Subject: Re: Nightjars dying in Townsville
From: Stephen Ambrose <>
Date: Thu, 01 May 1997 15:11:01 +1100
Alex Appleman wrote:
> Each year white throated nightjars migrate through Townsville, stopping off 
> at suitable habitat such as the Palmetum or Town Common.  However last year 
> 18 bird
> This year 6 white throated nightjars have been seen at the workshops, in very 
> poor condition.  The cause of their demise is something of a mystery.  Are 
> they j
> One theory is that the workshop  itself is the killer being impregnated to 
> toxic levels with DDT in the 1950's.
> Any suggestions on how the tragedy can be avoided next year?


At about this time two years ago many owls (and probably other species) died in 
Queensland as a result of being poisoned. The culprit was a poison in the form 
of a
pellet that was used to control either a rat or a mouse plague in the sugar 
cane fields.
Presumably the birds can consumed dead or dying rodents and were consequently 

I cannot remember the precise details of this incident (perhaps somebody else 
There was an official investigation into the incident, and the company which had
imported the pellets from the United States quickly withdrew its sales once the 
cause of
death of so many birds was identified. I can probably get better details of this
incident over the next few days if nobody else on Birding-aus can help, if you 
think it
is worth the effort.

I?m just wondering if the Nightjars are suffering from the same or similar 
method of

Dr Stephen Ambrose
Research and Conservation Manager.

Birds Australia (formerly Royal Australasian Ornithologists Union).
Australian Bird Research Centre,
415 Riversdale Road,
Hawthorn East,
VIC   3123.

Tel:    (03) 9882 2622.
Fax:    (03) 9882 2677.
Email:  S.Ambrose <>

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