Navigation Links
MU researcher works to save one of the world's most endangered birds
Date:3/21/2011

COLUMBIA, Mo. The Tuamotu Kingfisher is a multicolored, tropical bird with bright blue feathers, a dusty orange head, and a bright green back. The entire population of these birds less than 125 lives on one tiny island in the south Pacific, and without serious intervention, they will no longer exist. One University of Missouri researcher is trying to stop the birds' extinction by working with farmers and residents on the island inhabited by the kingfishers.

"If we lose these birds, we lose 50,000 years of uniqueness and evolution," said Dylan Kesler, assistant professor in fisheries and wildlife at the University of Missouri's School of Natural Resources in the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources. "Because it has lived in isolation for a very long time, it's unlike any other bird. There is no other bird like this on the planet."

In new studies published in the journal The Auk (published by the American Ornithologists Union) and the Journal of Wildlife Management, Kesler and his team of researchers have uncovered important information to help ensure the birds' survival and a unique way to attach radio transmitters to the birds to track them.

To survive, the kingfishers need several specific habitat characteristics:

  • Hunting Perches about 5 feet off the ground The birds hunt by "pouncing." They watch their prey and then fall on them from hunting perches about 5 feet high. Without the perches in broadleaf trees at the appropriate height, the birds have no way to hunt.

  • Exposed ground the birds' food consists mainly of lizards, which are easier to spot where the ground is clear of vegetation. When coconut farmers conduct intermediate burns on their land which are hot enough to kill brush, but do not lead to widespread fires or kill the lizards it exposes more ground and the birds can see the lizards.

  • Dead trees for nesting the birds create nests by flying into dead trees and hollowing cavities. Live trees are too hard and many farmers cut down their dead coconut trees. By encouraging farmers to leave some dead trees, the birds will continue to be able to build nests.

  • Lessoning the impact of predators cats and rats, which were introduced to the island by humans, now hunt the Tuamotu Kingfisher. By wrapping metal bands around the trees, the predators are less likely to get into the nests, but Kesler is still searching for other solutions that might alleviate the pressure on the birds.

In a separate study, Kesler also developed a "weak-link" radio harness for the birds to wear. In previous studies with different birds, scientists have reported unintentional harm to the birds after attaching radio transmitters. That harm included scratching the birds, making the birds act peculiarly and introducing infections. Using this new harness, Kesler was able to track the birds during the study, and the harness was shed within two months.

"Unfortunately, even with all our work to date, the population is still crashing," Kesler said. "We're seeing some turnover, but each year when we return, there are more empty territories and the population decreases. At this rate, these birds will be gone within our lifetime."


'/>"/>

Contact: Christian Basi
BasiC@missouri.edu
573-882-4430
University of Missouri-Columbia
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. Wistar Institute researcher receives New Innovator award from NIH
2. NC State researchers get to root of parasite genome
3. Researchers find animal with ability to survive climate change
4. Researchers find an essential gene for forming ears of corn
5. Researchers note differences between people and animals on calorie restriction
6. Researcher working on destruction of chemical weapons
7. Researchers study acoustic communication in deep-sea fish
8. Researchers discover that growing up too fast may mean dying young in honey bees
9. Researchers study how pistachios may improve heart health
10. UI researchers find potentially toxic substance present in Chicago air
11. Researchers develop new self-training gene prediction program for fungi
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
MU researcher works to save one of the world's most endangered birds
(Date:6/23/2017)... ITHACA, N.Y. , June 23, 2017 ... a leader in dairy research, today announced a new ... help reduce the chances that the global milk supply ... this dairy project, Cornell University has become the newest ... Food Supply Chain, a food safety initiative that includes ...
(Date:5/16/2017)... 2017  Veratad Technologies, LLC ( www.veratad.com ), an ... identity verification solutions, announced today they will participate as ... 15 thru May 17, 2017, in Washington ... Center. Identity impacts the lives of ... quickly evolving digital world, defining identity is critical to ...
(Date:4/24/2017)... 24, 2017 Janice Kephart , ... Identity Strategy Partners, LLP (IdSP) , today issues ... President Trump,s March 6, 2017 Executive Order: ... vetting can be instilled with greater confidence, enabling ... all refugee applications are suspended by until at ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... October 12, 2017 , ... ... of a complex biological network, a depiction of a system of linkages and ... Dmitry Korkin, PhD, associate professor of computer science at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... Iowa (PRWEB) , ... October 12, 2017 , ... ... based in Vilnius, Lithuania, announced today that they have entered into a multiyear ... is to provide CRISPR researchers with additional tools for gene editing across all ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... ca (PRWEB) , ... October 12, 2017 , ... ... the Surgical Wound Market with the addition of its newest module, US Hemostats ... $1.2B market for thrombin hemostats, absorbable hemostats, fibrin sealants, synthetic sealants and biologic ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... October 12, 2017 , ... ... the first-ever genomics analysis platform specifically designed for life science researchers to ... of pioneering researcher Rosalind Franklin, who made a major contribution to the ...
Breaking Biology Technology: