Wildlife Damage Management, Internet Center for


Date of this Version

September 1966


Reviewing the cattle feedlot problems in the west, we have cattle feedlots near most of our large population centers and in some cases they are located near supplies of rations, such as potatoes in Idaho or beet pulp, milo, etc. Perhaps the greatest number of feedlots are in California which has our largest human population but there are also large operations in Utah, Idaho, Oregon, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, and Arizona which have reported bird damage problems. Later on in the program we'll have a film taken by our bird project personnel of work in feedlots in Colorado so I'll try to describe the situation in more general terms. Weather and latitude have a lot to do with the severity of bird problems in feedlots. Feedlots located in the northern fringes of the wintering range, particularly, Idaho, eastern Oregon, Colorado, etc., are apt to be the ones most heavily damaged. In fact, it is in these areas when snow covers the ground and cold weather freezes the ground that birds flock in the heaviest to feedlots. Some believe that the presence of feedlots with an open daily supply of food may cause starlings to winter further north than they ordinarily would. I'll confine the discussion to starlings, while blackbirds are involved, the amount of food consumed, their feeding behavior and contamination caused by blackbirds is much less. Blackbirds feed primarily in pens and alleys, eat far less and excrete less than starlings. When looking at a feedlot problem it is important to distinguish between species and observe closely which birds are feeding mainly out of the feed bunkers.