Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
Will Utahn’s idea help Darwin’s finches save themselves?

Conservation » Birds weave pesticide-laced cotton balls into nests, killing blood-sucking maggots, University of Utah study finds.

< Previous Page

The merits and risks of interfering to manage and protect wildlife is subject to debate.

Darwin’s finch nests aren’t the only habitats invaded by parasitic flies, which showed up in large numbers in the Galápagos in the 1990s. Knutie said the flies now infest all land birds there, including most of the 14 species of Darwin’s finches, two of which are endangered.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

But the finches have no history with them and don’t appear to have developed biological or behavioral defenses against them, she said. "Also, we think there are no natural predators of the parasite on the Galápagos."

There’s potential for these birds to go extinct within the next century and saving them has become a top priority in the Galápagos.

"They are a major driver of eco-tourism. People go the Galápagos to see the finches that inspired Darwin," she said.

Knutie said permethrin-treated cotton could be tried on flea-bitten Florida scrub jays, feather lice-infested honeycreepers or black-tailed prairie dogs in the Great Plains threatened by plague-carrying fleas.

It has been used with nesting mice in the Northeast, but it was unclear whether it worked to kill Lyme disease-carrying ticks, she said.


Twitter: @KStewart4Trib

story continues below

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment

About Reader Comments

Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.