Fruit consumption by birds is a costly problem in North America, yet basic information about the species and abundance of fruit-eating birds in fruit crops, and factors that influence abundance, are lacking. We conducted a study of fruit-eating birds in 'Honeycrisp' apples, blueberries, grapes, and sweet cherries in Michigan, New York, and the Pacific Northwest in 2012 and 2013. We documented the most frequently observed fruit-eating birds in each crop across our study regions, and used fruit-consumption data to identify bird species for each crop and region that have a great impact via fruit consumption. We found that American Robins (Turdus migratorius; hereafter, ‘robins’) and Cedar Waxwings (Bombycilla cedrorum; hereafter ‘waxwings’) are important fruit consumers across regions and crops, while House Finches (Haemorhous mexicanus), additionally, are important in the Pacific Northwest. We modelled and compared the abundance of fruit-eating birds in all four crops, and found that while abundance varied by region and crop, it was unaffected by heterogeneity in the surrounding land cover. Fruit growers can use information from this study to tailor bird management plans to specific crops and regions, depending on the species of concern.
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Melissa B. Hanney, Jason R. Boulanger, Paul D. Curtis, et al.. "Bird species and abundances in fruit crops and implications for bird management" (2019). Biology Faculty Publications. 33.