Eastern Wildlife Damage Control Conferences

 

Date of this Version

October 1993

Abstract

The bird repellent properties of methyl anthranilate (MA) and dimethyl anthranilate (DMA) are well-established. Nevertheless, development of means to reduce the amount of chemical needed to effect satisfactory repellency would reduce costs and make their use even more attractive. Thus, we evaluated the usefulness of a visual stimulus for increasing DMA repellency. We offered groups of captive European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) untreated food and DMA-treated food, and to some groups we also presented a putatively repellent eyespot pattern. As expected, a DMA concentration of 1.4% (gig) reduced (P = 0.001) consumption of treated food compared to untreated; 0.3% DMA was ineffective. While, the presence of the eyespot pattern alone reduced food consumption by about 50%, pairing the eyespots with the DMA treatments did not improve the chemical's effectiveness at either level. Even though the eyespot pattern was initially aversive, prolonged exposure resulted in rapid habituation. Although visual scare devices using eyespot patterns are marketed for bird control, our findings suggest that alone they are probably of limited value against starlings. Instead, integrated approaches employing visual, aural, and chemical deterrents are needed.

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