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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Developing methods to manage conflicts between humans and birds -- three decades of change at the USDA National Wildlife Research Center

  • Author(s): Tobin, Mark E.
  • et al.

As the U.S. population has increased and the number and nature of problems caused by wildlife has changed, the focus of research conducted by USDA APHIS National Wildlife Research Center (NWRC) scientists has evolved to meet changing demands for effective solutions. This paper summarizes changes in the focus of NWRC Bird Research Program as reflected in 1) three surveys to determine priority research needs of the Wildlife Services (WS) program, 2) NWRC research literature produced in each of three decades since 1970, and 3) the focus of current research in the NWRC Bird Research Program. Many research needs of the WS program were consistently expressed in three programmatic research needs assessments (RNAs) conducted in 1989, 1996, and 2001, while others changed as new bird-human conflicts emerged. Blackbirds, starlings, waterfowl, gulls, wading birds, and cormorants were listed in all three RNAs, while pelicans and vultures are more recently expressed as a priority research needs. The major emphasis of NWRC bird research publications over the last three decades has been related to blackbirds, starlings, and grain crops. Songbirds also were a subject of many research publications during each of the last three decades. Waterfowl, gulls, and cormorants, as well as aviation, aquaculture, and endangered species, were subjects of increased research focus at the NWRC during the 1990s.

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