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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Research on winter roosting blackbirds and starlings in the southeastern United States


Each winter, more than 300 million blackbirds and starlings congregate in hundreds of roosting sites in the southeastern United States. In addition to nuisance problems involving odor and property damage from fecal material, and potential airport hazards, research studies to date suggest that the major problems with these birds and their roosts involve grain losses in feedlots, latent disease transmission to livestock, and public health concerns with histoplasmosis. Control methods development studies have shown the utility of Starlicide and nonchemical control methods in reducing starling feedlot problems. A sprinkler-irrigation delivery system for the surfactant, PA-14, has been developed that enhances its usefulness for lethal roost management. Research is being continued to (1) define the behavior and impact of roosting birds on the livestock industry, (2) improve methods of dispersing birds from roost sites, and (3) determine the effect of lethal roost control on subsequent roosting and foraging bird populations.

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