Date of this Version
In the United States, blackbirds are abundant and widely distributed. with their winter populations estimated to be between 500 million and 1 billion. Annual damage to grain, fruit, and berry crops from blackbirds exceeds $100 million in direct costs. Additional costs, not estimated, include those spent to prevent human health and safety hazards and those from damage abatement efforts. The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Wildlife Services (WS) is charged with reducing the magnitude of health. safety, nuisance, agriculture, and feedlot/dairy problems caused by these birds. WS' goal is to improve profitability to agricultural producers, enhance the human health and safety, and protect the environment through the development of new or improved management strategies. In this paper, we outline WS research and operational needs to resolve the health, safety, nuisance, and agricultural problems caused by blackbirds. We also discuss needs and actions to protect desirable migratory birds from the negative impacts of blackbirds.