Wildlife Research Wildlife Research Society
Ecology, management and conservation in natural and modified habitats
RESEARCH ARTICLE

Can the Judas technique be applied to pest birds?

Andrew P. Woolnough A B , Tim J. Lowe A and Ken Rose A

A Vertebrate Pest Research Section, Department of Agriculture and Food, Western Australia, 100 Bougainvillea Avenue, Forrestfield, WA 6058, Australia.

B Corresponding author. Email: awoolnough@agric.wa.gov.au

Wildlife Research 33(6) 449-455 http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/WR06009
Submitted: 19 January 2006  Accepted: 11 August 2006   Published: 4 October 2006

Abstract

The Judas technique was evaluated for its use as a technique to assist with the control of the common starling (Sturnus vulgaris). This technique uses the natural behaviour of a gregarious animal to betray the location of itself and its companions through radio-telemetry. Two trials were conducted to assess and develop the technique for starlings. The first trial was conducted near the western edge of the starling’s current established range in Australia, at Penong in South Australia. Nine out of ten radio-tagged birds were successfully tracked from the ground and air. Estimates of the areas utilised varied from 1.1 km2 to 96.5 km2 (100% convex polygons). Night-time roosts were found for three of the nine radio-tagged birds and control (shooting) recovered just one bird directly associated with a Judas starling, as well as the radio-tagged bird. The second trial was conducted at Munglinup near Esperance in Western Australia. Munglinup is the site of a recent infestation of starlings and is the most western-known outlier of this pest in Australia. At this site, five radio-tagged starlings tracked from the ground and air, utilised areas ranging from 0.7 km2 to 51.6 km2. Reduced fidelity to roosting trees impaired our ability to destroy starlings here. However, the real value of the Munglinup trial was to expand the geographical area known to be occupied by this population from 103 km2 to more than 225 km2 and to identify habitats and roost sites used by the starlings. We conclude that the Judas technique could be applied to starlings and other pest birds with similar social structures as a means of strategic surveillance rather than as an adjunct to control per se.


References

Bentz C. M., Paton D. C., and Sinclair R. G. (2005). Ecology and management of the common starling (Sturnus vulgaris) in the McLaren Vale Region. Unpublished Final Report to the Grape and Wine Research and Development Corporation (Project No. UA 01/05).

Caccamise D. F. Hedin R. S. 1985 An aerodynamic basis for selecting transmitter loads in birds. Wilson Bulletin 97 306 318

Feare C. (1984). ‘The Starling.’ (Oxford University Press: Oxford.)

Henzell R. P. (1987). Methods of controlling feral goats in special situations. In ‘Proceedings of 8th Australian Vertebrate Pest Control Conference, Coolangatta, Qld’. pp. 264–267.

Higgins P. J., Peter J. M., and Cowling S. J. (Eds.) (2006). ‘Handbook of Australian, New Zealand and Antarctic Birds. Volume 7. Boatbill to starlings.’ (Oxford University Press: Melbourne.)

Jumber J. F. 1956 Roosting behavior of the starling in central Pennsylvania. Auk 73 411 426


Keegan D. R. Coblentz B. E. Winchell C. S. 1994 Feral goat eradication on San Clemente Island, California. Wildlife Society Bulletin 22 56 61


Long J. L. (1981). ‘Introduced Birds of the World.’ (A.H. & A.W. Reed: Sydney.)

Lowe S., Browne M., Boudjelas S., and De Poorter M. (2000). 100 of the world’s worst invasive alien species. A Selection from the global species database. The Invasive Species Specialist Group (ISSG) a specialist group of the Species Survival Group (SSC) of the World Conservation Union (IUCN). Auckland, New Zealand.

McClure E. (1984). ‘Bird Banding.’ (The Boxwood Press: Pacific Grove, CA)

McIlroy J. C. Gifford E. J. 1997 The ‘Judas’ pig technique: a method that could enhance control programmes against feral pigs, Sus scrofa. Wildlife Research 24 483 491
DOI

Morrison D. W. Caccamise D. F. 1985 Ephemeral roosts and stable patches? A radiotelemetry study of communally roosting starlings. Auk 102 793 804

Nugent G. (2002). Radio-collared pigs and deer. In ‘Judas Workshop. Proceedings of a workshop on the use of radio telemetry for animal pest control’. (Eds J. Gregory, B. Kyle and M. Simons.) pp. 30–37. (Department of Conservation, Otago Conservancy: Dunedin, New Zealand.)

Powell L. A. Krementz D. G. Lang J. D. Conroy M. J. 1998 Effects of radio transmitters on migrating wood thrushes. Journal of Field Ornithology 69 306 315


Powell L. A. Conroy M. J. Hines J. E. Nichols J. D. Krementz D. G. 2000 Simultaneous use of mark–recapture and radio telemetry to estimate survival, movement, and capture rates. Journal of Wildlife Management 64 302 313


Rappole J. H. Tipton A. R. 1991 A new harness design for attachment of radio transmitters to small passerines. Journal of Field Ornithology 62 335 337


Simons M. (2002). Wanaka Judas Thar Programme – trends. In ‘Judas Workshop. Proceedings of a Workshop on the Use of Radio Telemetry for Animal Pest Control’. (Eds J. Gregory, B. Kyle and M. Simons.) pp. 45–51. (Department of Conservation, Otago Conservancy: Dunedin, NZ.)

Taylor D. Katahira L. 1988 Radio-telemetry as an aid in eradicating remnant feral goats. Wildlife Society Bulletin 16 297 299


Thomas H. F. 1957 The starling in the Sunraysia District, Victoria. Emu 57 31 48


Tracey J., and Saunders G. (2003). Bird damage to the wine industry. Report to the Bureau of Rural Sciences, Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry.

White G. C., and Garrot R. A. (1990). ‘Analysis of Wildlife Radio-Tracking Data.’ (Academic Press: New York.)

Wiktander U. Olsson O. Nilsson S. G. 2001 Seasonal variation in home-range size, and habitat area requirement of the lesser spotted woodpecker (Dendrocopos minor) in south Sweden. Biological Conservation 100 387 395
DOI

Woolnough A. P. Kirkpatrick W. E. Lowe T. J. Rose K. 2004 Assessment of three techniques for the attachment of radio transmitters to common starlings. Journal of Field Ornithology 74 330 336

Woolnough A. P., Massam M. C., Payne R. L., and Pickles G. S. (2005). Out on the border: keeping starlings out of Western Australia. In ‘Proceedings of the 13th Australasian Vertebrate Pest Conference, Wellington, New Zealand’. pp. 183–189.

Yamaguchi N. Yahara T. 2002 Factors causing variation in flock size: decision making to join a foraging flock. Ecological Research 17 361 371
DOI



Export Citation Cited By (9)