Automated broadcast of a predator call did not reduce predation pressure by sugar gliders on birds

Date: 09, Aug, 2020
Author(s):   Owens, G., Heinsohn, R., Eyles, S., Stojanovic, D.
Publisher: Ecological Management & Restoration

Fear may elicit behavioural and physiological responses in animals. We conducted a pilot study aiming to reduce bird nest predation in Tasmania by the introduced Sugar Glider (Petaurus breviceps) by broadcasting calls of predatory owls. We designed a solar-powered, automated weatherproof stereo for long-term call broadcast in a forest environment. This device may have useful applications in other environments where long-term call broadcast is required in remote field conditions. Call broadcast did not reduce the likelihood of Sugar Glider nest predation on either active bird nests or artificial nests baited with farmed quail eggs. If we elicited fear in Sugar Glider individuals with call broadcast, this fear did not result in behavioural changes that could be exploited to achieve the conservation objective of lower predation.