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


Date of this Version

January 2001


Published in Proceedings of the 23rd Sunflower Research Workshop (January 17–18, 2001, Fargo, ND). National Sunflower Association, Bismarck, North Dakota.


Fall flocks of red-winged blackbirds (Agelaius phoeniceus) are well known for their ability to damage crops such as sunflower (Linz and Hanzel 1997). In response, wildlife managers have considered local population reduction as a strategy for reducing blackbird damage. Male red-winged blackbirds are logistically easier to remove than females because of their conspicuous behavior. However, they exhibit a polygynous breeding system, and male removals may be ineffective if a large population of floaters exists to replace removed birds. We present data from an experimental removal project in two North Dakota townships and discuss the implications for local blackbird removal as a potential management strategy.