Date of this Version
The use of 4-Aminopyridine (Avitrol, a Phillips Petroleum trade-name, or AFCC 99, a name designated by Environmental Protection Agency) as an avian repellent when placed on agricultural crops has been reported upon (DeGrazio, et al., 1971, 1972; Stickley, et al., 1972, 1976); and its status in the United States and elsewhere has been recently reviewed (Bessek, 1976). Much more information has been collected; but unfortunately, it has not been made accessible in published form (see Besser, 1976). Thus, much of the information and opinions about this repellent material is anecdotal, and the scientific community must rely upon relatively sparse information in determining its overall efficacy. For this reason it is not altogether clear whether this "repellent" material and other such chemical compounds are useful in either ecological or economic senses, and much must be cleared up before such a control or management paradigm can be made creditable for either a scientific or a user audience. The main problem is that published reports to date appear to be highly selected to put this work in its best possible light, and critical tests of the employment of avian repellents in agricultural ecosystems per se are lacking. We (the public) have been provided with "demonstrations" of efficacy in bird-corn crop associations, with broadly stated extrapolations to other crops; but there is not clear scientific evidence about whether this approach, let alone this particular chemical compound, is effective and how it relates to sound management practices of wildlife-oriented problems in agricultural ecosystems. For instance, Besser (1976) cited several unpublished reports supporting his case for continued or increased usage of 4-Aminopyridine and drew conclusions upon inference about why "conclusive data . . ." and anticipated protection were not achieved in two states. It was because "... of low bird pressure." Such statements cannot be accepted in attempting to present a case for or against the use of a management tool, simply because the reader is led to believe that scientific objectivity is lacking in the overall program.