Starling Zinging in the Dead of Night


Starling Zinging in the Dead of Night

Have you ever observed a spider weave its web around a struggling fly? Have you ever watched a bird pull a worm from its hole in the ground? Have you ever witnessed a cat stalking a bird? All of the above are nature’s way in which animals live and die. These trapping, hunting, and eating behaviors are natural life and death experiences for insects, birds, and feral felines. Feral felines sometimes stalk, catch, and eat starling birds.

 Dairy farmers face many challenges, one of which is dealing with starling birds. Wisconsin horizons are often darkened by flocks of these hungry winged vertebrates. Starlings become more than a nuisance to dairymen. What they steal from feedlots is later deposited as gooey starling droppings on barnyard fences and machinery. A flock consisting of thousands of starlings simultaneously descends upon open feed troughs and then spread salmonella and other bacteria to cows as they share the cow’s rations.

The United States Department of Agriculture has created a ghastly end of life scenario for these birds.

 Death By Poisoning There is a toxin that is designed to kill starlings by destroying their kidney function. This clever biological weapon is called DRC-1339. The active ingredient, representing 97% of the product is 3-chloro-4-methylbenzamine hydrochloride. Starlings die horrible deaths from this poison. So too do feral starling-eating felines.

Yesterday (November 3, 2011), for the first time in my memory, the dairy industry prompted a compassionate cruelty-free method of ridding a dairy farm of starlings.

 Dairy Business promoted the clever invention of Todd Weitzman, president and owner of Bird Gard. Bird Gard mimics the sounds of starlings in distress and hearing those cries, starlings do a 180 degree turn and head somewhere else. This new product neither kills nor poisons birds, and it is a welcome relief from past practices. See:

Robert Cohen