Accession Number : ADP004190

Title :   Blackbirds and Starlings: Population Ecology and Habits Related to Airport Environments,


Personal Author(s) : Dolbeer,R. A.

Report Date : 25 MAY 1984

Pagination or Media Count : 11

Abstract : The Red-winged Blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus) is the most abundant bird in North America today. It is often joined in roosting assemblages by Common Grackles (Quiscalus quiscula), Brown-headed Cowbirds (Molothrus ater), and Starling Sturnus vulgaris). The combined populations of these 4 species exceed 500 million birds during the winter roosting season and increase to over 1 billion birds after the young are fledged in summer. In spite of their abundance, they are involved in only about 6% of the bird strikes to aircraft, less than 1/7 the number of strikes caused by the less abundant gulls (Larus spp.). However, the rather infrequent collisions between aircraft and blackbirds or Starlings can be catastrophic, even though these species have less than 10% the weight of most gull species. Because blackbirds and Starlings are prolific and well adapated to modern land-use practices, attempts to eradicate populations at airports through killing will provide only temporary relief. The key to reducing blackbird and Starling activity in the vicinity of airports lies in the elimination of preferred roost sites through habitat modifications and in the reduction of food supplies through changes in agriculture. (Author)

Descriptors :   *Bird strikes, *Birds, Ecology, Population, Airports, Migration, Patterns, Symposia

Distribution Statement : APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE