Prismaclolor Marker Helps Birds Mate!

Let me just preface this post by saying: I take no responsibility for any ideas that anyone may or not get from reading this.

NBC News had an interesting story from Australia detailing how ornithologists were able to affect the mating habits of two subspecies of fairy-wrens simply by using Sharpie-like markers on them.

Fairy Wren

According to the story, the males of fairy-wren subspecies have orange back feathers while the males of the other have red.

Both sets of birds tend to mate within their subspecies to nest and raise their young. However, the females also like to play the field.

And this is where it gets problematic: The females from the orange group prefer the males with the bright red feathers. The result is that the genetic material of the two subspecies is getting all mixed up, slowing their evolution into two more distinct groups.

So, instead of giving them their own reality show, ornithologists from Cornell University tried a simple test. They painted the feathers on the orange birds with a PrismaColor Carmine Red marker (a Newell Rubbermaid cousin to Sharpies).

PrismaColor Carmine Red marker

The idea was to determine whether the change would trick the females into mating with the orange-feathered birds. Sure enough, it did. The poor little orange guys were no longer lonely.

Now, why was the experiment important? Because of science.

But you know what this means for the rest of us? Two words: customized wildlife. No more of that piddle about the leopard not being able to change his spots. Not after we’ve grabbed our Sharpies and headed into the wild.

(The preceding paragraph was a joke, only a joke, and nothing but a joke.)

Sharpie Twin Tip Marker Black

Actually, since Sharpie and related markers are non-toxic, it apparently is not uncommon to use them to mark critters for various types of research. Or, to follow a snake around in your backyard.

And, seems they’re also useful for marking up people prior to surgery.

Yet more reasons to love Sharpie – just try not to get carried away.

Photo of author

Tony Bridges

As a seasoned journalist and freelance writer, I've spent over three decades telling stories and exploring the world through the written word. With a passion for writing instruments, I found my niche at The Pen Vibe, a blog that shares our collective fascination with pens, pencils, and other tools that have shaped the art of writing.

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