Vertebrate Pest Conference Proceedings collection


Date of this Version

February 1962


CALIFORNIA HOUSE FINCH Carpodacus mexicanus frontalis: Depredations. In California the linnet is an abundant resident throughout the State wherever food and water are available. It is most numerous on the valley floors and in the foothills where man's development has created an extensive favorable habitat. The linnet is primarily a seed eater and before the introduction of domestic fruits into California probably lived largely on weed seeds. Linnets attack the ripening fruit of the apricot, cherry, peach, pear, nectarine, plum, prune, avocado, grape, apple, fig, strawberry, blackberry, raspberry and many others. They disbud almond, apricot, pear, peach, plum, prune and nectarine. They also attack milo maize, sunflower, lettuce seed, broccoli seed, flax seed, miscellaneous vegetable and flower seeds, ornamental fruits and berries and tomato plantlets.

HORNED IARKS Otocoris alpestris, subspecies: Depredations. In certain parts of California the horned lark is a serious crop destroyer. The damage occurs mostly in the interior valleys from Sacramento south to the Imperial Valley and along the coastal strip from San Francisco south to San Diego. Horned larks are given great opportunity for damage by the widespread abundance of cultivated products attractive to them. Among the crops severely damaged are plantlets of lettuce, carrots, beets, spinach, turnips, peas, beans, sugar beets, alfalfa, cantaloupes, watermelons, tomatoes and lettuce. Flower plantlets of any variety in commercial seed plantings are frequently devoured. Damage by horned larks usually begins after the first plants break through the surface of the soil and it may continue until the plants reach a height of several inches.

CROWNED SEHRROWS Zonotrichia species and subspecies: Depredations. Direct opposites as to preference of habitat to the horned larks, crowned sparrows are birds of deep brush, river bottom jungles, dense weed fields, fence rows, brush piles or rubbish heaps. The dense hedges and thick plantings of shrubbery commonly found about many rural and suburban homes are much to their liking. Crop depredations in California by crowned sparrows can be laid to three subspecies—Gambel's, Nuttall's and Golden Crown. Due to its very wide range in the State and to the immense numbers which concentrate here, Gambel's sparrow must be considered by far the most important.

WOODPECKERS: Depredations. In addition to the pecking of holes in buildings and poles, the California woodpecker frequently becomes a serious pest about almond or walnut orchards. The Lewis woodpecker has occasionally caused some damage to apples in certain areas of California.