We are pleased to announce the release of our latest resource: Supporting Beneficial Birds and Managing Pest Birds.
Birds can help on the farm to keep pest insects, rodents and pest birds at bay. When habitat is provided for beneficial birds, bringing them closer to crops, farmers may be able to reduce pest-control costs. Beneficial birds can help with production in the same way as beneficial insects.
This new resource includes:
- Colorful Accounts of How Birds Can be Beneficial in Crops and on Pasture
- USDA’s Historic Economic Ornithology Division
- How Best to Manage and Co-exist with Pest Birds
- Why On-Farm Habitat and the Surrounding Landscape Influences Pest Control
- What Farmers Can Do to Make Farms More Bird-Friendly and Resilient
- How Birds’ Diets, Foraging Strategies and Nesting Periods Affect the Farm
- Inspiring Stories from Ten Innovative Farmers
Not surprisingly, growers tend to know a lot more about the birds that cause damage than about those that are beneficial. Losses can be significant for some crops, but the benefits of the pest control services provided by birds have not often been measured. This new resource discusses the research behind both beneficial and pest birds, getting new information into the hands of farmers.
Jo Ann Baumgartner, WFA executive director explains that "in order to bring this resource to life, WFA reviewed more than 600 research articles, synthesizing them into readily accessible information that will assist farmers in implementing practices which benefit the farm and wild nature."
Today farmers who are masters at IPM—Integrated Pest Management—are using ecological pest-control strategies that include birds. They understand that the overwhelming majority of songbirds are beneficial during nesting season because they feed pest insects to their voracious nestlings. With this publication, we are spreading the knowledge of how all farmers can make the most of birds on their farms.
Jo Ann Baumgartner, explains that “by providing habitat for beneficial birds, farmers are improving the biodiversity of their operations which increases the resiliency of the farm. This new resource gives farmers practical and research-based information on the importance of specific birds to crops."
Authors: Jo Ann Baumgartner, Wild Farm Alliance (WFA); Sara Kross, Columbia University; Sacha Heath, University of California, Davis; and Shelly Connor, WFA
Advisory Team: Rachael Long, UC Cooperative Extension; Helen Atthowe, Woodleaf Farm; and Peter Martinelli, Fresh Run Farm. Editorial Consultant: Karen Van Epen
Without the generous support from the following, this publication would not be possible: Gaia Fund, Community Foundations of Sonoma and Santa Cruz Counites, and the Clarence E. Heller, Clif Bar Family, Newman’s Own, Springcreek, Strong, True North and United Natural Foods Foundations. It was also funded by Café Mam, Coke Farm, Driscoll’s, Full Belly Farm, Gopher’s Limited, Hummingbird Wholesale, MOM’s Organic Market, Mountain Rose Herbs, Nature’s Path, New Natives, Organic Valley and Phil Foster Ranches.