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Dermal Contact Repellents for Starlings: Foot Exposure to Natural Plant Products

Larry Clark
The Journal of Wildlife Management
Vol. 61, No. 4 (Oct., 1997), pp. 1352-1358
Published by: Wiley on behalf of the Wildlife Society
DOI: 10.2307/3802137
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3802137
Page Count: 7
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Dermal Contact Repellents for Starlings: Foot Exposure to Natural Plant Products
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Abstract

Identification and formulation of contact repellents are needed to prevent nuisance birds from roosting on architectural structures. In this study I showed the feet of starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) to be viable routes of exposure for contact dermal irritants, and that starlings will avoid perches treated with such irritants. In one experiment, starlings became agitated and hyperactive after their feet were immersed in 5% oil extracts of the spices cumin, rosemary and thyme, demonstrating that dermal exposure to chemicals could alter behavior. In a second experiment, I painted perches with pure compounds of plant origin (1% wt/wt). Starlings avoided perches treated with either R-limonene, S-limonene, and β-pinene. The carbamate pesticide, methiocarb, was also a good dermal repellent. None of the extracts or compounds indicated that exposure resulted in illness for the dosages given and the delivery system tested. These results suggest that development of a nonlethal contact repellent for nuisance bird control may be feasible.

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