Vertebrate Pest Conference Proceedings collection


Date of this Version



The use of diversionary food is an ecological method to reduce feeding damage by wildlife to forest and agricultural crops. The red squirrel (Tamiasciurus hudsonicus) feeds on the vascular tissues of young lodgepole pine (Pinus contorta var. latifolia) and this damage is particularly severe in intensively managed stands. Aerial application of sunflower seed on an operational scale significantly reduced damage by squirrels. This result was achieved in three different ecological zones in the interior of British Columbia, Canada. The food shortage apparently experienced by these rodents during the May-June damage period can be accommodated by an artificial food source such as sunflower seeds. Cost of this operational program is $0-$45/ha and is a worthwhile expense even if required annually for 5-10 years to protect the $2,000+/ha invested in intensively managed pine stands. Adaptation of this technique is discussed with respect to understanding the sociological aspects essential to successful application of research results.