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Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual study: Use of rotating beacons and gas guns to minimize waterfowl deaths on highly acidic toxic waterbodies, Olympic Dam mine site, South Australia

Published source details

Read J.L. (1999) A strategy for minimizing waterfowl deaths on toxic waterbodies. Journal of Applied Ecology, 36, 345-350


This study is summarised as evidence for the intervention(s) shown on the right. The icon shows which synopsis it is relevant to.

Use visual and acoustic ‘scarers’ to deter birds from landing on pools polluted by mining or sewage Bird Conservation

A randomised, replicated and controlled trial in South Australia in 1996-7 (Read 1999), found that the number of wildfowl on sewerage ponds was 90% lower when a slowly rotating beacon with an intermittent, low-angled beam was floated in the centre of the ponds, compared to control ponds with no beacon (average of approximately 2 ducks/night on experimental ponds vs. 36 ducks/night on control ponds). There was no change in the behaviour of waders, and grebes dived, rather than dispersing. A follow-up, before-and-after experiment found that the number of wildfowl and hoary-headed grebes Poliocephalus poliocephalus on toxic and acidic tailing ponds were over 66% lower in the 12 months following the installation of a slowly rotating beacon with an intermittent, low-angled beam that floated in the centre of the ponds, compared to the 12 months before installation. Over half of the casualties were when the device was not fully operational and mortality rates were reduced to one-sixth of post-installation levels in the 12 months after the device became fully operational. Of the 15 mortalities following installation, four were hoary-headed grebes.