Starling control program benefits many

Program to reduce starling populations in the SImilkameen has benefits beyond those of agriculture

A summary of activity from the Okanagan Starling Control Program that appeared in the BC Fruit Growers Association’s annual report revealed annual expenditures for the program at $155,000 annually.

The trapping program has had great success over the past 10 years, trapping 241,000 starlings in the Okanagan – Similkameen region alone.

The program is funded through three regional districts, the BCFGA, the BC Cherry Association, the BC Tree Fruit Cooperative and the BC Grapegrowers’ Association, and is responsible for eliminating more than 500,000 starlings in the catchment area over the past 10 years.

Five trappers currently work the program, with trap locations in the Regional  District North Okanagan, the Regional District Central Okanagan, and three in the Regional District Okanagan Similkameen.

 

Recent research conducted by the program revealed origins of the birds:

– 25 per cent of samples came from the Kelowna area

 

– 10 per cent came from the South Okanagan

– 20 per cent came  from Quesnel

– Five per cent came from Grand Forks

– 40 per cent had undetermined origins

The starling control program has also embarked on a public awareness program designed to encourage the public to work towards reducing nesting sites

 

A reduction in starlings in the Similkameen has also reduced the use of bird scaring devices such as propane cannons. Agriculturalists experience reduced costs for bird control measures and bird damage to crops, and the general public benefits from a return in populations of native songbirds to the area.