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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/2440/74574

Type: Journal article
Title: Capsaicin as a deterrent against introduced mammalian nest predators
Author: Baylis, Shane M.
Cassey, Phillip Bruce
Hauber, Mark E.
Citation: The Wilson Journal of Ornithology, 2012; 124(3):518-524
Publisher: Wilson Ornithological Soc
Issue Date: 2012
ISSN: 1559-4491
School/Discipline: School of Earth and Environmental Sciences
Statement of
Responsibility: 
Shane M. Baylis, Phillip Cassey, And Mark E. Hauber
Abstract: We investigated use of capsaicin, a chemical that evolved as a mammal-directed fruit-consumption deterrent for chili (Capsicum annum) fruits as a nest-predation deterrent. Capsaicin is unpalatable to mammals, but apparently undetectable by birds, and has been used as a selective mammal-repellent in several commercial applications. We placed imitation thrush (Turdus spp.) nests containing model and real eggs in a suburban site near Auckland, New Zealand. The majority of observed predation attempts in our experiments were attributed to introduced rats (Rattus spp.) based on comparisons of tooth-marks on damaged plaster eggs and tooth-marks made with rat skulls. Predation rates on imitation eggs treated with adhesive chili powder were lower than predation rates on eggs in other treatments (W  =  201, n  =  60, P  =  0.05), including non-adhesive chili, adhesive paprika (capsaicin-free chili powder), non-adhesive paprika, and untreated eggs. Successive replicates of the same experimental paradigm in the same site revealed the predation rate on all imitation nests decreased with repeated placement of imitation nests and eggs. These results support the potential value for use of capsaicin-treated nests to deter mammalian predators of natural bird nests.
Rights: Copyright status unknown
RMID: 0020122278
DOI: 10.1676/11-116.1
Appears in Collections:Environment Institute Leaders
Earth and Environmental Sciences Publications
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