Wildlife Damage Management, Internet Center for


Date of this Version

September 1966


First, I'd like to qualify geographically, the area where most of our work is done and problems occur. It is primarily in the Rocky Mountain states and the west coast. While the area of the Denver Wildlife Research Center's responsibility covers the states west of the Mississippi River; the only area on the plains where our personnel have conducted intensive studies outside of Colorado is in South Dakota. The major bird problems in grain crops in the west are primarily caused by blackbirds excepting, of course, waterfowl depredations. It's difficult to rank the principal crops according to seriousness of losses. I would say however that three stand out, these are milo, corn, and rice. One of the toughest problems is in rice. Blackbirds have a natural affinity for marsh areas and rice. Colusa County in the central valley of California is one of the largest rice producing coun¬ties in the country and offered choice sites which were selected for research studies. Milo, a small cereal grain is commonly grown in Colorado, Arizona, and Southern California where long-standing problems occur in the Imperial Valley. And then of course is the problem you people here in Ohio are familiar with--corn, and in the west there are problems in both field corn and sweet corn. Our major field corn problem area is in South Dakota associated with some of the large marshes that the blackbirds stop in on migration and the corn damage is heaviest adjacent to these marshes. We've had very few problems called to our attention in barley, one or two examples in Oregon, and so forth. In wheat, we have heard of very few complaints, one or two have been reported from North Dakota. This doesn't mean that additional crops are not involved or there are not other damage areas in the west but as I've indicated the bulk of the losses appear to be in milo, rice, and corn in the specific area mentioned.