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Document Type

Thesis - University Access Only

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Wildlife and Fisheries Science

First Advisor

Daniel E. Hubbard


blackbird, bird population, south dakota, pesticides


The United States Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service has implemented an experimental blackbird control program using the avicide DRC-1339 to reduce the population of depredating blackbirds (red-winged blackbirds [Agelaius phoeniceus], yellow-headed blackbirds [Xanthocephalus xanthocephalus], and common grackles [Quiscalus quiscula]) in the northern Great Plains. As part of this control program, brown rice baits are treated with the avicide and broadcast in eastern South Dakota stubble fields during the vernal migration. The potential negative impact on nontarget avian species, in particular ring-necked pheasants (Phasianus colchicus), was evaluated during the treatment periods, March to April 1998 and 1999. Nontarget birds used treated plots more than adjacent untreated unbaited reference plots (x2=8.35, 1 df, P=0. 004). Nontarget birds were then separated by feeding guilds; granivorous birds were observed significantly more in treated plots (x2=159.1, 1 df, P<0.001). Pheasants were observed numerous times around the treated plots, but only twice in the treated plots. Activity comparisons showed more nontarget birds feeding in treated plots (x2 =179. 9, 1 df, P<0.001). Eighty-four percent of the avian granivores in the treated plots were observed to be feeding; therefore, it seems likely that the bait may be attracting nontarget granivores. However, extensive mortality searches revealed no nontarget birds sick or dead from DRC-1339 toxicity.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Blackbirds -- Control -- South Dakota
Bird populations -- South Dakota
Pesticides -- Toxicology


Includes bibliographical references (page 45-51)



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University


Copyright © 1999 Jason A. Smith. All rights reserved.