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Three plot sizes (36, 78, and 108 m2) were evaluated for testing blackbird seed repellents within a 0.2-ha flight pen. Groups of 12 to 20 red-winged blackbirds were observed as they foraged on pairs of plots within each size category. One plot from each pair was sown with 134 kg/ha of rice seed treated with 1.25-g methiocarb/kg of seed. Plot selection, avoidance, discrimination, and latency to discrimination were determined for each plot size. With the 36-m2 plots, there were long delays in selecting untreated plots, treated plots were not avoided, the birds had difficulty discriminating between the plots, and results were inconsistent among replicates. The 78-m2 plots were adequate for most purposes, but the clearest and most consistent results were from the 108-m2 plots. These plots were readily found by the birds, were accurately discriminated, and had bird pressure similar to that observed in Louisiana rice fields.
methiocarb, bird repellent, plot size, repellent testing, Agelaius phoeniceus, blackbird, simulated field study, flight pen
Wildlife biologist, University of Florida, Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, GainesvilleStevensville, FLMT
Project leader, Florida Field Station, Denver Wildlife Research Center, USDA/APHIS, Gainesville, FL