Taxonomic Differences between Birds and Mammals in Their Responses to Chemical Irritants

  • J. Russell Mason
  • Larry Clark
  • Pankaj S. Shah


Ninety-five products are registered with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as bird damage control chemicals, but 38 (40%) are nonlethal chemical repellents (Eschen and Schafer, 1986). Of these products, the active ingredients in 27 (71%) are methiocarb (a physiologic repellent that acts through food avoidance learning) or polybutene (a tactile repellent). In general, chemical repellents are effective either because of aversive sensory effects (irritation), or because of post-ingestional malaise (sickness). If the former, then chemicals are usually stimulants of trigeminal pain receptors (i.e., undifferentiated free nerve endings) in the nose, mouth, and eyes (Mason and Otis, 1990). Although many birds possess adequate olfactory and gustatory capabilities (e.g., Berkhoudt, 1985, Kare and Mason, 1986) smell and taste, per se, are rarely of consequence for bird damage control. Here, we address chemosensory repellents only.


Veratryl Alcohol Chemical Sens Vanillyl Alcohol Taxonomic Difference Agelaius Phoeniceus 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. Russell Mason
    • 1
  • Larry Clark
    • 1
  • Pankaj S. Shah
    • 2
  1. 1.USDA/APHIS/S&T/Denver Wildlife Research CenterMonell Chemical Senses CenterPhiladelphiaUSA
  2. 2.Monell Chemical Senses CenterPhiladelphiaUSA

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