Nonlethal alternatives are needed to manage blackbird (Icterids) damage to rice and sunflower production in the United States. We evaluated 4 registered fungicides on rice seeds (i.e., Allegiance® FL, Thiram 42-S, Trilex®, and Vitavax® 200 preplant seed treatments) and 2 foliar pesticides on sunflower seeds (Cobalt™ insecticide and Flock Buster bird repellent) as candidate blackbird repellents. Red-winged blackbirds (Agelaius phoeniceus) preferred untreated rice relative to rice treated with Thiram (P < 0.001) and Vitavax (P < 0.001), and untreated sunflower relative to sunflower treated with Cobalt (P < 0.001). Blackbirds preferred untreated sunflower relative to sunflower treated with Flock Buster repellent on day 1 of a 4-day preference test (P < 0.001). We observed no difference in consumption of treated versus untreated rice during the Allegiance preference test (P = 0.928), and blackbirds preferred rice treated with Trilex relative to untreated rice (P = 0.003). Although repellency was positively related to tested concentrations of Thiram (P = 0.010), Trilex (P = 0.026), and Vitavax (P < 0.001), maximum repellency was <50% during our concentration-response tests of these seed treatments. Repellency was also positively related to tested concentrations of Cobalt (P < 0.001), and we observed >80% repellency of sunflower treated with Cobalt at ≥50% of the label rate. We observed no concentration-response relationship for the Allegiance seed treatment (P = 0.341) and Flock Buster repellent (P = 0.952). We recommend implementation of supplemental field studies to compare laboratory efficacy, repellency, and chemical residues of effective avian repellents throughout periods of needed crop protection.
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Vol. 74 • No. 6