Action Synopsis: Bird Conservation About Actions

Do birds take bait designed for pest control?

How is the evidence assessed?
  • Effectiveness
    not assessed
  • Certainty
    not assessed
  • Harms
    not assessed

Study locations

Key messages

Two studies, one randomised, replicated and controlled, from New Zealand and Australia found no evidence that birds took bait meant for pest control.


About key messages

Key messages provide a descriptive index to studies we have found that test this intervention.

Studies are not directly comparable or of equal value. When making decisions based on this evidence, you should consider factors such as study size, study design, reported metrics and relevance of the study to your situation, rather than simply counting the number of studies that support a particular interpretation.

Supporting evidence from individual studies

  1. A before-and-after study on Breaksea Island (170 ha), South Island, New Zealand (Taylor & Thomas 1993) found that there was no significant difference in the number of South Island robins Petroica australis australis counted in 1987, prior to a rat eradication campaign, compared to after the eradication of rats in 1988 and 1989 (130 robins in 1987, 127 and 129 in 1988 and 1989 respectively; 192 birds counted at 133 bait stations in 1988, 194 at 140 stations in 1989). Rats were eradicated using brodifacoum baits in both briquettes and plastic bags. The lack of change in the robin population implies that birds were not adversely affected by the poisoning and did not take the bait.

    Study and other actions tested
  2. A randomised, replicated and controlled study over eight days in Adelaide Zoo, Australia (Johnston & McCarthy 2007), found that eight bush stone-curlews did not consume untreated bait (consisting of 50-100g pieces of sun-dried horsemeat and dried oats) when also provided with their normal food (consisting of beef mince, fruit and ‘Woombaroo insectivore mix’ – a commercially available feed mix), which they continued to eat.

    Study and other actions tested
Please cite as:

Williams, D.R., Child, M.F., Dicks, L.V., Ockendon, N., Pople, R.G., Showler, D.A., Walsh, J.C., zu Ermgassen, E.K.H.J. & Sutherland, W.J. (2020) Bird Conservation. Pages 137-281 in: W.J. Sutherland, L.V. Dicks, S.O. Petrovan & R.K. Smith (eds) What Works in Conservation 2020. Open Book Publishers, Cambridge, UK.


Where has this evidence come from?

List of journals searched by synopsis

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Bird Conservation

This Action forms part of the Action Synopsis:

Bird Conservation
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What Works in Conservation

What Works in Conservation provides expert assessments of the effectiveness of actions, based on summarised evidence, in synopses. Subjects covered so far include amphibians, birds, mammals, forests, peatland and control of freshwater invasive species. More are in progress.

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