STP974

    Evaluating Corn Varieties for Resistance to Damage by Blackbirds and Starlings

    Published: Jan 1988


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    Abstract

    Because of many uncontrolled variables, it is difficult to study the influence of crop varieties and crop maturity on bird damage under field conditions. To achieve some degree of control in our evaluations of bird damage to corn, we constructed an outdoor aviary with 24 cages (1.5 by 5.0 by 1.0 m), each capable of holding up to ten birds. Racks designed to hold eight husked or unhusked ears of corn in a natural field position were constructed for the cages. This design allowed the evaluation of bird damage to field and sweet corn, controlling for such factors as bird species and sex, bird numbers, duration of damage, maturity of corn, and varieties. In addition, varieties could be tested under both free-choice (up to eight varieties) and no-choice (only one variety) regimes in replicated experiments. By measuring ear and husk characteristics, we could determine which characteristics were most closely associated with differences in damage among varieties. Varieties showing high degrees of resistance in the aviary could then be evaluated in replicated field experiments. With minor modifications, these procedures could be used to evaluate bird damage resistance in other agricultural crops.

    Keywords:

    field corn, sweet corn, resistance, damage, blackbirds, starlings, aviary, test methods, vertebrate pest control, hybrids, varieties, cultivars


    Author Information:

    Woronecki, PP
    Research biologist and project leader, Denver Wildlife Research Center, Ohio Field Station, Sandusky, OH

    Dolbeer, RA
    Research biologist and project leader, Denver Wildlife Research Center, Ohio Field Station, Sandusky, OH

    Otis, DL
    Chief, Denver Wildlife Research Center, Denver, CO


    Paper ID: STP26168S

    Committee/Subcommittee: E35.17

    DOI: 10.1520/STP26168S


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