U.S. Department of Agriculture: Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service


Date of this Version

January 2003


Proceedings of the 10th Wildlife Damage Management Conference. (K.A. Fagerstone, G.W. Witmer, Eds). 2003.


Red-winged blackbirds (Agelaius phoeniceus), common grackles (Quiscalus quiscula), and brown-headed cowbirds (Molothrus ater) cause extensive damage to newly planted and ripening rice. The blackbird-rice problem has generated considerable public pressure in states such as Louisiana, Texas, California, Arkansas and Missouri, to find more effective methods of reducing damage caused by blackbirds. USDA/APHIS/WS National Wildlife Research Center (NWRC) works closely with various state rice growers associations and the USDA Wildlife Services (WS) state operational programs to address this high-priority issue. NWRC conducts a multi-faceted research program aimed at resolving blackbird-rice problems. Research focuses on determining the status of depredating species in southern rice growing states, assessing the impact of birds on production, evaluating and developing potential bird repellents, improving the effectiveness of DRC- 1339, and developing new strategies and/or tools to manage bird damage to rice.