Date of this Version
Summer starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) are known to have caused damage to the agricultural industry of Tulare County since 1960. At this time the first confirmed appreciable damage to grapes occurred. Since that year the threat has grown considerably as populations have increased. Annual monetary losses have fluctuated but damage has increased steadily and many losses are going unreported or unevaluated by the growers. Known total monetary losses in Tulare County have reached over $28,500.00 in a single summer and the unknown or unrealized losses would probably double this figure. The diversity of crops damaged has mounted steadily, as anticipated, and grapes of various varieties are still the hardest hit, with plums approaching a close parallel. Certain varieties of figs are preyed upon extensively even though they are not the kind predominently grown commercially now in Tulare County. Nectarine, peach, berry, apple, cherry and olive varieties are also affected by this gregarious pest.