Scented feathers

Canterbury University associate professor Jim Briskie is hoping to develop a deodorant for New Zealand’s native birds to stop them falling prey to introduced predators. Briskie says it appears New Zealand birds suffer from body odour, making them an easy target for predators. He says unlike their overseas counterparts, which evolved alongside mammals, New Zealand birds emit a strong smell when preening as they produce wax to protect their feathers. He says kiwis smell like mushrooms or ammonia, while the flightless and endangered kakapo parrot smells like “musty violin cases”. The New Zealand robin had a musky smell that was more pungent during mating season. The Canadian, who moved to New Zealand 13 years ago, has been awarded more than $6, over three years from this year’s Marsden Fund to investigate the theory.

Tags: ABC News  Jim Briskie  native birds