Cotton wool could save the endangered forty-spotted pardalote

Tuesday 1 September 2015
A Forty-spotted pardalote. Photo: Angi Kim
A Forty-spotted pardalote. Photo: Angi Kim

PhD student Amanda Edworthy (Langmore Group, EEG) spoke on ABC Radio National about her work with the 40-spotted pardalote, an endangered Tasmanian songbird. She discovered that a parasitic fly was causing extensive mortality of nestlings, but when nests were sprayed with insecticide, 90% of the chicks survived, as opposed to 15% with no insecticide. She is now trialling an idea that has been used successfully in the Galapagos, where cotton balls are soaked in insecticide and left in the bush for the birds to find and use for nesting material. Amanda thinks this will be important to help increase the population of pardalotes, but that long term forest management will need to include ways to decrease fly populations. (Photos: Angi Kim.)

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