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Providing evidence to improve practice

Action: Use naphthalene to deter mammalian predators Bird Conservation

Key messages

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A replicated, controlled study from the USA found that scattering naphthalene moth balls near artificial nests did not affect predation rates.


Supporting evidence from individual studies


A replicated, controlled study in July 1986 in a cord grass Spartina alterniflora marsh in South Carolina, USA (Gawlik et al. 1988) found that eggs placed in 40 abandoned red-winged blackbird Agelaius phoneiceus nests (mostly in southern red cedar Juniperus silicicola or marsh elder Iva frutescens) were as likely to be predated if six moth balls (treated with 100% naphthalene) were scattered in the vegetation within a 2 m radius the nest (50% of 20 nests predated), as if no moth balls were used (35% of 20 nests predated).


Referenced papers

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. (2019) Bird Conservation. Pages 141-290 in: W.J. Sutherland, L.V. Dicks, N. Ockendon, S.O. Petrovan & R.K. Smith (eds) What Works in Conservation 2019. Open Book Publishers, Cambridge, UK.