Scientists devised a cheap, ingenious trick to save this bird from a blood-sucking maggot – and it works brilliantly

Saving endangered species from extinction is a challenging job that requires creative, affordable and effective interventions. In a rare good news story for conservation, we came up with one such method.

We want to save the forty-spotted pardalote – an extremely rare Tasmanian bird about the size of a ping pong ball. The few remaining individuals are at risk from an unusually harmful threat: blood-sucking fly larvae.

These parasitic flies search out the nests of pardalotes to feed on their defenceless young. The moment a pardalote chick hatches from its egg, the fly maggots burrow into its skin to drink its blood. The parasite kills nine out of every ten chicks in some areas.

We needed a way to ward off the parasites. As our new research shows, we made one – using chicken feathers and everyday items you’d find in any hardware store. The results show that with a bit of creative thinking and expert knowledge, vulnerable species can be protected.

Like to know more? Read the full story at The Conversation website.

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