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


Date of this Version

February 2006


Published in National Sunflower Association Research Forum Papers 2006.


Blackbirds are ubiquitous members of the avian fauna in the Prairie Pothole Region. However, their abundance combined with their food habits make blackbirds significant agricultural pests on sunflower. Cost estimates for blackbird damage to sunflower in the northern Great Plains range from 4-11 million U.S. dollars per year. Because of their economic impact on agriculture, it is imperative to understand the environmental factors that influence blackbird abundance patterns. This study attempts to quantify the effects of landscape-level land use and climate patterns on blackbird abundance in the Prairie Pothole Region of the United States.