Re: Yellow wader watch

To: Hugo Phillipps <>
Subject: Re: Yellow wader watch
From: "Merrilyn Serong" <>
Date: Wed, 23 Sep 1998 23:21:29 -0700

Hugo Phillipps wrote:



In order to find out more about some wader species that pass through
north-western Australia on their way to southern Australia, it is intended
to mark Red-necked Stints, Curlew Sandpipers and Sharp-tailed Sandpipers
with a yellow dye (Picric Acid) on the breast and under the wings.  The dye
is harmless to the birds, will last until the feathers are moulted, and
should be visible for at least 2-4 months.  The markings will become more
orange with age, and the underwing markings should last longer than those
on the breast.

The yellow-marked underwings are highly visible in flight, and marked birds
stand out in a flying flock.

  My concern is whether the yellow colour will make the birds more obvious to predators.
Some studies of animals in the past have shown that marked individuals are more likely to
be predated.
One of the benefits of flying in a flock of similar looking birds, or running in a herd of similar animals,
is that predators find it difficult to single out an individual, and may become confused by all the moving bodies.
A single brightly marked individual may be easy to focus on and catch.
I wonder if any observations of predation were made last time birds were marked like this.

Merrilyn Serong.

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