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Local program of bird damage control in Salinas Valley

  • Author(s): Little, David R.
  • et al.
Abstract

A brief history of the development of the winegrape industry in Monterey County, California is provided. In the early 1960s, several established wineries pioneered the initial premium varietal vineyards in the county, with very successful results. The early 1970s brought a grape planting boom: acreage jumped from 2,000 to over 37,000 acres in approximately 4 years. While a few of the early vineyards had suffered damage from starlings and linnets, the increased acreage brought increasingly significant bird damage problems. It was recognized that a county-wide bird damage control program needed to be developed, but there was little information on current effective methods, damage assessment, or costs of control methods. The county Agricultural Department assisted by instituting grower assessments to provide funds to hire local personnel, who would coordinate our efforts to apply and evaluate damage control methods. Currently, we have what we believe is the beginning of an effective program that utilizes bird traps, bait trays, and sound-scaring technologies. The program provides important communication among growers, in addition to timely sharing and implementation of tools and techniques. We believe that academic institutions need to be more directly involved with the growing animal damage problem at a field level, and to recognize the inadequacy of current research efforts.

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