Managing bird damage

Cover of Managing bird damage
Guidelines on managing pest birds are available from the Bureau of Rural Sciences

Horticulturalists have been provided with a new resource to help minimise pest bird damage, estimated to cause losses in grapes, pome fruit, stone fruit and nuts totalling at least $300 million across Australia each year.

A new book called ‘Managing Bird Damage to Fruit and other Horticultural Crops’, produced by the Bureau of Rural Sciences and supported by the Invasive Animal Cooperative Research Centre and Horticulture Australia, was released in Canberra yesterday.

Lead author, NSW Department of Primary Industries scientist, Mr John Tracey, says the 255-page book offers practical solutions to help farmers to control birds.

"Our view is that bird damage to horticulture is becoming increasingly significant with over 60 species known to cause major impact.

"While bird damage is unpredictable, it can have a dramatic impact on individual growers in certain years, sometimes resulting in complete crop loss.

"Compounding this problem is the lack of well-tested, cost-effective ways to reduce their impact", he said.

Mr Tracey said the book provides a comprehensive assessment of the problem, current best practice approaches, options for management and what must be done to reduce damage in the future.

Priorities include:

  • improving predictions of bird movements,
  • using simple techniques to estimate potential losses,
  • taking proactive steps to reduce damage, and
  • having growers, industry and government work together.

The book also contains fact sheets which provide growers with information about different pest birds and how to manage them.