Wildlife Damage Management, Internet Center for


Date of this Version

October 1973


It has been suggested that our approach to agricultural bird problems is perhaps wrong, and I feel it would be valuable to ask several individuals to give their ideas as to where their programs are heading right now. I would first like to ask Jerry Besser, the Chief of the Bird Section of the Denver Wildlife Center, to give just a brief statement as to where they are now. BESSER: Most of our efforts are being channelled into the agricul- tural area on a broad scale. Many of the problems are national ones. We can put our finger on the losses much more easily, and they are quite substantial. Corn loss for a two-year study in the United States has shown to be six million bushels. We have multi-million dollar losses in crops as substantiated by statistics dealing with such crops as grain sorghum. Recent data have been assembled to show that there are quite large problems existing, though they may not affect a substantial portion of corn production. However, they still are sore problems and, if solved, would allow the export of millions of bushels of grain and a great number of pounds of fruit or allow these products to be consumed by people in the United States. This is better than having the crops go to the birds. We are not worried about the birds' starving during the summer or the early fall when seeds are in great abundance. The immediate future of our program in not pesticide development, but I would call it plant protection. We have had a number of programs in this area that have had considerable success with most of the crops tried. It will probably be difficult to get the agents developed. We have tried non-chemical means, physical means, and auditory means, in particular, and ecological means. I know that cultural practices, or habitat manipulation, have a great place in long-range programs. In the immediate future, 70-80 percent of the solutions will probably come from the area of chemical protection. We are working now principally with three types of environmental chemical agents; we no longer put as much emphasis on toxicants. We have found agents that will fully solve 6 percent of the total problems that we have in our agriculture. It has been extremely difficult to get the details registered. It is becoming more difficult, and it will probably be even more difficult in the 1990's; and this is why we are putting much more emphasis in this area of repellent chemical practices. I feel that you will hear more about these agents in the future.