A control taste aversion experiment on predators of roseate tern (Sterna dougallii) eggs

Neves, V.C., Panagiotakopoulos, S. and Furness, R.W. (2006) A control taste aversion experiment on predators of roseate tern (Sterna dougallii) eggs. European Journal of Wildlife Research, 52(4), pp. 259-264. (doi:10.1007/s10344-006-0044-4)

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Publisher's URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10344-006-0044-4

Abstract

European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) are responsible for high rates of egg predation at one of the main colonies of the endangered roseate tern (Sterna dougallii) in the Azores archipelago. Control taste aversion has been effective in controlling raven predation in a colony of California least tern (Sterna antillarum browni), but there is little quantitative information about its efficacy on other species of predators taking eggs. We conducted a control taste aversion experiment on yellow-legged gulls (Larus michahellis) and European starlings eating eggs of terns in a mixed colony of common (Sterna hirundo) and roseate terns in the Azores. We treated quail (Coturnix coturnix) eggs with methiocarb and deployed them in artificial nests in the tern colony. On the first experiment, conducted before the terns laid eggs, predation rates on quail eggs by yellow-legged gulls showed significant and rapid decrease after deployment of treated eggs. During the second experiment, after the terns had started laying, results were mixed. Although predation rates by European starlings on treated quail eggs decreased, predation rates on tern eggs did not. We conclude that control taste aversion using methiocarb-treated eggs is likely to reduce depredation by gulls but not starlings because of the need to pre-train the birds and the tendency of starlings to be attracted by the movement of adults, not the presence of nests. 2006 Springer-Verlag

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Furness, Professor Robert
Authors: Neves, V.C., Panagiotakopoulos, S., and Furness, R.W.
Subjects:Q Science > QL Zoology
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Biodiversity Animal Health and Comparative Medicine
Journal Name:European Journal of Wildlife Research
ISSN:1612-4642

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