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Open Access Publications from the University of California

A Review of Bird Deterrents Used in Agriculture

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Animal intrusion causes significant agricultural losses each year. Wild and domestic animals destroy crops by eating and trampling them, and can pose food safety risks due to the deposition of feces on or near the crops. Birds are one of the most challenging animals to keep out of agricultural fields. Growers try countless methods to deter them, including visual, auditory, tactile, and olfactory means. While some of these methods work some of the time, none provide stand-alone protection all the time. Recently there has been interest in developing technology-based solutions to deter nuisance birds in agricultural settings, while others are exploring more natural methods, including falconry. We provide a general overview of bird deterrent methods that are currently in use in agricultural settings, and explore options for novel methods. We found that very few independent scientific studies have been conducted to assess the efficacy of most bird deterrent methods. Ultimately, a multi-tiered approach using integrated pest management techniques will likely be most useful as it can be tailored to meet the needs of individual farmers.

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