Endangered birds can be protected from predators with chemical camouflage
Oct 2022, phys.or
In the first treatment sites, the researchers spread waterfowl odor in wetland areas. With the chemical camouflage, a new method successfully tested in Australia and New Zealand, the researchers studied whether great amounts of prey odor in the area prevents predators from finding the artificial bird nests.In other areas, the researchers used eggs containing an aversive agent causing nausea with the goal of conditioning the predators to believe that the bird eggs were inedible. The researchers also used control sites which they visited as frequently as the treatment sites for controlling a potential disturbance effect.The study showed that especially the chemical camouflage decreased the predation of the artificial waterfowl nests by red foxes, but a similar effect was not observed with raccoon dogs, a harmful invasive species to Finland."Red foxes might rely more on their sense of smell to find bird nests, while the raccoon dog might find the nests by happenstance when they move in the area," says Senior Researcher Vesa Selonen from the University of Turku, Finland.
via University of Turku: V. Selonen et al, Protecting prey by deceiving predators: A field experiment testing chemical camouflage and conditioned food aversion, Biological Conservation (2022). DOI: 10.1016/j.biocon.2022.109749
Image credit: AI Art - Seamless Texture Camouflage - 2023