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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Methods of controlling starlings and blackbirds


Damage by starlings and blackbirds is becoming more serious and widespread. Various control measures are being used, but a satisfactory answer to many bird problems is still to be found. Frightening devices (firearms, rope firecrackers, gas exploders, distress calls, electric perches, airplanes, etc.) are useful in many situations but lose their effectiveness as birds become familiar with the frightening principle. Effective reduction in bird numbers is difficult to achieve because of the inaccessibility of the birds, the costs, and the dangers involved. Efforts at using cage traps, light traps, and elevator traps are described, as is use of poisoned baits and roost control techniques. Until more is known about the habits and movements of blackbirds and starlings, or until new or improved techniques are evolved, it is hard to see how present difficulties are to be quickly overcome; in the meantime, perseverance with the measures that can be used conveniently and safely seems to be the most logical course. It must be emphasized that a combination of two or more methods increases the efficiency of each. Strong publicly supported and planned programs would certainly help to reduce the problem. A list of references is provided.

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