Cinnamamide Modifies Foraging Behaviors of Free-Living Birds

Publication Type:Journal Article
Year of Publication:1998
Authors:Gill, EL, Feare, CJ, Cowan, DP, Fox, SM, BISHOP, JULIED, Langton, SD, Watkins, RW, Gurney, JE
Journal:The Journal of Wildlife Management
Volume:62
Issue:3
Date Published:1998
ISBN Number:0022541X
Keywords:Carduelis, Carduelis chloris, Chloris, Chloris chloris, Cyanistes, Cyanistes caeruleus, Fringillidae, Paridae, Parus, Parus caeruleus, Parus major
Abstract:Chemical repellents may provide an effective and humane method of reducing bird damage to crops via modification of the feeding behavior of the target species. We observed behavior of free-living birds, in particular greenfinches (Carduelis chloris), blue tits (Parus caeruleus) and great tits (P. major), feeding on peanuts contained in wire-mesh feeders set out in 5 rows at 5-m intervals progressing away from the edge of woodland. Two identical patches of peanuts were available and were approximately 300 m apart. Prior to treatment, all birds preferred to feed closest to the woodland. We applied cinnamamide (0.6% mass/mass), an avian repellent, to peanuts in the preferred rows of 1 patch (row 1 next to the wood in the first year of the experiment, and rows 1-3 in the second year). All birds avoided treated peanuts. When row 1 was treated, the number of tits feeding on rows 2-3 increased, and many of the greenfinches moved away from the treated patch to the untreated patch. When rows 1-3 were treated, a few tits moved to feed on row 4, but most birds left the treated patch and numbers increased on the untreated patch, which suggested they flew to the untreated patch. Modifications of feeding behavior brought about by the presence of cinnamamide varied among species. Such modifications may have been related to differences in social organization: tits were relatively solitary feeders and were also probably establishing territories at the time of the experiment (Feb-Mar), whereas greenfinches fed and flew in large flocks. Thus, it was likely easier for greenfinches to fly between patches than the tits. Only when eating untreated peanuts at their "local" patch involved feeding ≥20 m from cover did most tits leave the patch, probably for the untreated patch. Bird pests tend to be flock feeders, thus an effective and appropriately formulated chemical repellent may be an effective tool for modifying the behavior of bird pests in order to reduce damage.
URL:http://www.jstor.org/stable/3802538
Short Title:The Journal of Wildlife Management
Scratchpads developed and conceived by (alphabetical): Ed Baker, Katherine Bouton Alice Heaton Dimitris Koureas, Laurence Livermore, Dave Roberts, Simon Rycroft, Ben Scott, Vince Smith