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

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."


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

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