Date of this Version
Since 1965 the Canadian Wildlife Service has been concerned with the damage which birds cause in the orchards and vineyards of the Niagara fruit belt, in southern Ontario. My own contribution to this programme has been to collect information on the feeding be¬haviour and ecology of the birds concerned, and use this to test the effectiveness of various control systems. For the purposes of this seminar, I shall only deal with the damage which Robins do to sweet cherries. Here, I was particularly interested in whether it was possible to develop a "bird-proof cherry variety, which would settle the problem once and for all. Obviously, there was no point in plunging at once into a long and expensive cherry breeding programme; instead, I investigated as many aspects as possible of the birds' feeding preferences. One can, of course, do this at any number of levels, from physiological investigations of taste mechanisms up to the relationship between Robins and fruit in the ecosystem as a whole.