Date of this Version
As is the case in many sections of the country today, starlings are causing increasing concern in the Pacific Northwest. When these birds were first recognized in Washington, Oregon and Idaho in the early 1940's only small numbers were seen, usually with blackbirds. During the 50's, however, the number of wintering starlings increased from a few birds, to thousands, with estimated flocks of 25,000 to 50,000 in western Oregon and along the Snake River Valley in Idaho and eastern Oregon. During the past five years winter resident populations in these areas have been estimated by the 100,000's, with some observers estimating roosting concentrations as high as several million. Damage due to winter roosting of enormous numbers of starlings in western Oregon holly orchards and increasingly severe losses to cattle feedlot operations through consumption and contamination of feed resulted in the development in 1959 of a pilot program between the Oregon State Department of Agriculture and the Bureau of Sport Fisheries and Wildlife designed to develop effective, safe and economical methods of starling control. This initial investigationa1 work which began in November 1959 and terminated for the season March 20, 1960 consisted of testing frightening devices and a floodlight trap in the holly orchards and tests with lethal bait and live traps around the feedlots.