Little Terns

Subject: Little Terns
Date: Mon, 7 Feb 2000 15:45:07 +1000

Hi Craig
I have a paper somewhere describing the successful aversive conditioning of
Common Ravens Corvus corax to deter them from eating the eggs of endangered
California Least Terns.  There is a close parallel with the situation near
Rotamah.  The method used was to inject quail eggs with a non-lethal chemical
that causes post-ingestional distress (and memory of the experience).  The
chemical is methiocarb, a carbamate compound used as a bird deterrent.  In the
case described, it was successful in teaching the resident ravens that eggs were
distasteful.  Because the ravens were territorial, they kept other, "uninformed"
ravens away.  I will send you a copy of the paper, and another earlier paper
describing similar work.  I suspect that this approach would have a good
prospect for training Silver Gulls as well as ravens, provided you treat enough
bantam or quail eggs to train most of your problem birds.

In the case of the Kestrels, I guess they are not going for eggs, so another
approach may have to be used.




Ian Temby, 1999 Churchill Fellow

Wildlife Damage Control Officer

Secretary/Treasurer, BIRDS Australia Parrot Association

Flora & Fauna Program

Department of Natural Resources and Environment

4/250 Victoria Parade



Phone          613 9412 4429
Fax       613 9412 4586

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