Poster Title

The effects of nesting American kestrels on pest bird abundance in sweet cherry orchards

Research Mentor(s)

John McLaughlin

Affiliated Department

Environmental Sciences

Sort Order

15

Start Date

14-5-2015 10:00 AM

End Date

14-5-2015 2:00 PM

Keywords

American kestrel, Bird, Integrated pest management, Sweet cherry, Orchard, Agriculture

Document Type

Event

Abstract

Bird damage to sweet cherry crops can cause major economic losses to the substantial Pacific Northwest fruit industry. As a pest management strategy, growers may erect nest boxes in orchards to attract a native predator, the American kestrel (Falco sparverius). The purpose of this study was to determine the effects of nesting kestrels on the abundance of fruit-eating birds in sweet cherry orchards. I hypothesized that bird abundance would be lowest near kestrel-occupied nest boxes and would gradually increase with distance from the box. To test this, I selected 19 sites with occupied nest boxes from orchards in Eastern Washington and British Columbia and counted birds at each site using variable distance transects. I used the count data to generate detection probability functions for three pest bird species: the American robin (Turdus migratorius), the American goldfinch (Spinus tristis) and the house finch (Haemorhous mexicanus). I created density estimates for individual transects from the detection probabilities and modeled bird abundance in relation to occupied boxes using nonlinear regression. Results from this study will promote minimally impactful bird deterrent methods and provide grower recommendations about the most effective kestrel nest box locations.

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May 14th, 10:00 AM May 14th, 2:00 PM

The effects of nesting American kestrels on pest bird abundance in sweet cherry orchards

Environmental Sciences

Bird damage to sweet cherry crops can cause major economic losses to the substantial Pacific Northwest fruit industry. As a pest management strategy, growers may erect nest boxes in orchards to attract a native predator, the American kestrel (Falco sparverius). The purpose of this study was to determine the effects of nesting kestrels on the abundance of fruit-eating birds in sweet cherry orchards. I hypothesized that bird abundance would be lowest near kestrel-occupied nest boxes and would gradually increase with distance from the box. To test this, I selected 19 sites with occupied nest boxes from orchards in Eastern Washington and British Columbia and counted birds at each site using variable distance transects. I used the count data to generate detection probability functions for three pest bird species: the American robin (Turdus migratorius), the American goldfinch (Spinus tristis) and the house finch (Haemorhous mexicanus). I created density estimates for individual transects from the detection probabilities and modeled bird abundance in relation to occupied boxes using nonlinear regression. Results from this study will promote minimally impactful bird deterrent methods and provide grower recommendations about the most effective kestrel nest box locations.