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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Starlings in California

  • Author(s): Siebe, Charles C.
  • et al.

The history of European starling expansion in California is described, as well as efforts by the California Department of Agriculture to find effective control methods for this species. In spring and summer, damage is primarily to grapes and soft fruits in orchards and vineyards. From November through March, migrant starlings cause principally around livestock feedlots and other concentrated sources of feed. The use of frightening devices and starling distress calls have so far been ineffective when used at such locations, but they have demonstrated some utility in vineyards and orchards to reduce damage to fruit. Trials with improved trap designs indicate that a more portable trap with a funnel-type entrance may be more efficient than traps previously used. Trials with the toxicant tetraethyl pyrophosphate (TEPP) on cubed apple or raisin baits have shown this material has some promise. Application of bands to some 27 thousand starlings indicates that those banded in California may migrate as far north as Edmonton, Alberta, and that they travel widely throughout the West, finding mountain ranges no barrier to movement.

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