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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Evaluation of the ChromaFlair® Crow Buster as a Starling Repellent at Nest Sites


Aircraft collisions with wildlife pose a threat to human health and safety for both the civil aviation industry and the military. Worldwide, wildlife strikes have resulted in the deaths of more than 157 people and the destruction of at least 140 aircraft since 1990. From 1990-2003, European starlings caused about $2.5 million in damage to civil aviation in the United States and are ranked among the top 21 most hazardous species to aviation. Lethal control to solve wildlife conflicts is often undesirable or impractical. Frightening techniques to keep birds away from airports are available, but may be untested, only temporarily effective, or cost-prohibitive. A new product, “Crow Buster”, was developed in Japan to repel crows from small agricultural plots. The product is based on ChromaFlair® pigments that allow the device to change color depending on the angle at which it is viewed and the angle of light on the product. The Crow Buster is made from lightweight plastic that forms a spiral when hung vertically from the top of the product. The objective of this study was to determine if the ChromaFlair®-based Crow Buster will deter European starlings from occupying starling nest boxes. There was no difference in the presence of nest material between treated and control nest boxes. In nests with eggs, clutch size was similar between treated (4.7 ± 0.2) and control (4.6 ± 0.1) boxes, but the mean initial date of egg laying was delayed 6 days in treated boxes. Because the device provided an initial level of repellency, it could be applied in and around starling nest sites as a deterrent until more permanent control efforts (e.g. modifying habitat) can be employed.

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