Wildlife Damage Management, Internet Center for



Walter W. Stroup

Date of this Version



Proceedings Ninth Bird Control Seminar, Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, Ohio, October 4-6, 1983. Ed. William B. Jackson and Beth Jackson Dodd


Copyright © 1983 Patrick H. Cole, Ron J. Johnson, and Walter W. Stroup


Recordings of a starling (Sturnus vulgaris) distress call, white noise, and a 917 Hz pure tone were presented to starlings in an outdoor enclosure to determine their relative effectiveness in frightening the birds into flight. Stimuli were presented during early morning hours on two consecutive days during two seasons, summer and winter. Effectiveness was measured as a function of the time birds remained off the ground and away from the food source after a presentation was made. The pure tone elicited essentially no response. Early responses (first 10 presentations) to the distress call and white noise did not differ significantly during the first or second test day of the summer and the first test day of the winter (P > 0.05); during the second test day of the winter, the distress call elicited a greater early response (P < 0.05). Later responses (after 10 presentations) for the distress call were consistently greater than for the white noise during both test days each season (P < 0.05). Habituation to the distress call was consistently slower than to the white noise for both days each season (P < 0.05). The second day of testing showed a spontaneous recovery from the habituation acquired on the first day for both the distress call and the white noise during both seasons. Rehabituation to the white noise on the second test day was consistently faster than the habituation on the first test day during both seasons (P < 0.05). Rehabituation to the distress call on the second day was faster than habituation on the first during the summer (P < 0.05) but did not differ during the winter (P > 0.05). Summer responses to the distress call and the white noise were consistently greater than the winter responses on both test days (P < 0.05). Advantages and disadvantages of the technique used were discussed.