“The results were fantastic. Birds took the treated feathers back to their nests and as a result 95 percent of the chicks survived – whereas those that used untreated feathers had only an 8 percent survival rate,” Alves said in a statement.
Alves told IFLScience there were no other species of birds in her study area likely to benefit in the same way, but “a lot of other species use feathers as soft material, others prefer fur. [The technique] could be used in the tropics,” where pest threats are more common.
Unlike an insecticide recently found to threaten birds, the one Alves used is commonly applied to caged birds. As to the big question, Alves confirmed some of her sample birds have exactly 40 spots, but others have more or less.