Wildlife Damage Management, Internet Center for

 

Date of this Version

2010

Citation

Proc. 24th Vertebr. Pest Conf. (R. M. Timm and K. A. Fagerstone, Eds.) Published at Univ. of Calif., Davis. 2010. Pp. 250-256.

Abstract

We radio tagged and tracked 50 European starlings between December 2008 and January 2009 at 3 feedlots in the northern Texas Panhandle. Daily fidelity to sites of capture (home feedlots) was different among the 3 radio-tagged cohorts. Cohorts from Sites A and C were recorded at home feedlots on 48 and 59% of tracking days, respectively. The Site B cohort was at its home feedlot 95% of days. There were qualitative differences in use of home feedlots between cohorts A and C. The former were nearly obligate in their use of concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFO), whereas the latter tended to balance their use between CAFO and a nearby urban center. Six birds (12%) used either one or both of the counterpart home feedlots. Of these, 5 permanently switched from their home feedlots and used counterpart home feedlots; one bird captured at Site B alternated between Sites A and C after abandoning its home feedlot. Use of roost sites depended on habitat composition surrounding the study feedlots. Urban habitats were used as roosts by several birds from Sites A and C, whereas birds using Site B roosted at a petroleum refinery and a reservoir. Some Site B individuals used both roost sites during the study period; however, the reservoir was the preferred roost site. Daily activities in habitats away from the home feedlot generally occurred ≤5 km from the home feedlot. For birds from Sites A and C, offsite habitats were mainly urban areas and small CAFO. Increased habitat heterogeneity, as exemplified in our study by urban habitats and CAFO near Sites A and C, seemed to reduce rates of daily use of home feedlots. Heterogeneous environments can complicate management strategies that use DRC-1339 Concentrate for reducing starling numbers at infested CAFO. First, starlings may be erratic in their daily use of a CAFO in complex environments. Secondly, urban areas, when present, may be used as refuges by poisoned birds, leading to adverse public exposure.

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