Action Synopsis: Bird Conservation About Actions

Foster eggs or chicks of gannets and boobies with wild conspecifics

How is the evidence assessed?

Study locations

Key messages

A small controlled study in Australia found that Australasian gannet chicks Morus serrator were lighter, and hatching and fledging success lower in nests which had an additional egg or chick added. However, overall productivity was (non-significantly) higher in experimental nests.


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 small controlled study at a marine reserve in Queensland, Australia, in the breeding seasons of 1997-8 and 1998-9 (Bunce 2001) found that Australasian gannet chicks Morus serrator were significantly lighter, and hatching and fledging success significantly lower in nests where a second egg or chick was added to the nest (‘experimental nests’), compared to control nests (maximum weight of approximately 2500 g for experimental nests in 1997-8, n = 4 vs. approximately 3250 g for controls, n = 8; data not provided for 1998-9; 1997-9: hatching success of35% for experimental nests vs. 70% for controls; fledging success of 63% for experimental nests vs. 90% for control). Over both years, the number of chicks fledged by experimental nests was higher than control nests, but this was not significant (1.3 chicks/nest for experimental nests, n = 8 vs. 0.9 chicks/nest for controls, n = 8). This study also investigated the impact of supplementary feeding on gannet chicks (see ‘Provide supplementary food to increase reproductive success’).

    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

All the journals searched for all synopses

Bird Conservation

This Action forms part of the Action Synopsis:

Bird Conservation
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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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