Chemical repellents sometimes can provide a nonlethal alternative for reducing wildlife impacts to agricultural production. In late summer and autumn 2002, we evaluated Bird Shield™ (active ingredient: methyl anthranilate, Bird Shield Repellent Corporation, Spokane, Wash.) as a blackbird (Icteridae) repellent in Missouri rice fields and North Dakota sunflower fields. We selected 5 pairs of ripening rice fields in southeastern Missouri and randomly allocated treatments (treated and control) within pairs. The repellent was aerially applied by fixed-winged aircraft at the recommended label rate and volume (1.17 L Bird Shield/ha and 46.7 L/ha, respectively); 1 field received 2X the label rate. We observed no difference in average bird activity (birds/minute) between treated and control fields over the 3-day post-treatment period (P = 0.503). We used reversed-phase liquid chromatography to quantify methyl anthranilate residues in treated fields. The maximum concentration of methyl anthranilate in rice samples was 4.71 µg/g. This concentration was below reported threshold values that irritate birds. In North Dakota we selected 6 pairs of sunflower fields used by foraging blackbirds. We randomly selected 1 field from each pair for 2 aerial applications of Bird Shield at the label-recommended rate ∼1 week apart. The remaining 6 fields served as controls. Daily bird counts, starting the first day of application and continuing for 5–7 days after the second application, showed similar numbers of blackbirds within treated and control fields (P = 0.964). We observed no difference in sunflower damage within treated and control fields (P = 0.172) prior and subsequent to the treatment. Bird Shield was not effective for repelling blackbirds from ripening rice and sunflower fields.
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