Bird Damage to Blueberries may be Significant

Assessment of Bird Damage to Early-Ripening Blueberries in Florida

According to a report by Curtis Nelms, Michael Avery and David Decker, birds appear to have a significant impact on the early season fresh market blueberry industry in Florida. A report from the researchers shows the problem is likely to worsen as the planting of high-value, early-ripening varieties spreads to other parts of the state and ripening times overlap with wintering frugivorous birds. Bird damage to early-ripening Florida blueberries was estimated to be approximately 17 percent in 1988 (two sites) and ranged from 17 percent to 75 percent in 1989 (three sites) when a late winter freeze severely reduced expected yield. Monetary loss due to bird damage in 1989 may have exceeded $4,500 per acre at one site.

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