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


Date of this Version

Winter 2022


Human-Wildlife Interactions (winter 2022) 16(3): 384–398

Associate editor: Michael Chamberlain


United States government work


Industrial hemp (Cannabis sativa L.; hemp) is an emerging crop in the United States with little known about bird use or the potential for birds to become an agricultural pest. We identified birds associated with hemp fields, using repeated visits to oilseed plots in North Dakota, USA (n = 6) and cannabinoid (CBD) plots in Florida, USA (n = 4) from August to November 2020. We did not control for plot area or density; our observations were descriptive only. We observed 10 species in hemp, 12 species flying over hemp, and 11 species both foraging in and flying over hemp fields in North Dakota. In Florida, we observed 4 species in hemp, 5 species flying over hemp, and 4 species exhibiting both behaviors. When we observed birds in hemp, we found them perched in the canopy or foraging on the ground. Counts were highest in oilseed and lowest in CBD varieties. The Florida sites were mainly CBD varieties, which explains lower species diversity and raw counts of birds given the lack of seeds produced. Maximum raw counts of the most common birds (mourning doves [Zenaida macroura] = 116; house finches [Haemorhous mexicanus] = 53; and American goldfinches [Spinus tristis] = 40) using very small fields (116–324 m2) in North Dakota suggest oilseed hemp could suffer yield losses but potentially benefit farmland bird conservation and act as a decoy crop to protect other commodities (for example, sunflower [Helianthus annuus L.]).