Northwest berry Foundation

Management Detail


in Blueberries

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Latin name: Many Species


Reason for Concern:
1) Can destroy enough of the crop to ruin the profitability of a planting
2) Known carriers of bacteria -- could contaminate fruit.

American Robin: 8-11 inches in length and has a wingspan of 12-16 inches. The male has dark gray or brown back and wing feathers and reddish-orange chest feathers. The females have the same color pattern, but are a little duller in color.

European Starling: has a black, speckled appearance and a short tail, and in flight the wings have a triangular shape. Can descend on orchards in huge flocks.

Common Grackles: about 12" long and have green/blue or purple tinged black plumage with a glossy purplish head, neck and chest. The female is slightly smaller and duller colored than the male. They eat in large flocks.

House Finch: has brown streaks and looks similar to a sparrow. The male has patches of orange or red under its chin and on its sides. House finches can cause extensive damage to fruit. When consuming blueberries, the birds start at the top of the bush and peck berries in rapid succession. Many berries are left damaged.



  • Begin monitoring during bloom. Effective controls, if needed, should be implemented before flocks become established in fields.
  • Monitor for presence and identification of species and number of birds. Quantify expected damage and calculate how much you can afford to spend on treatment.
  • Daily monitoring is important for assessing treatment efficacy.
  • Visit one location per 20 acres minimum daily in early morning or late evening. Location should be in bird travel area of field.
  • Monitor for changes in population size.
  • It is much easier to prevent feeding than to change feeding behavior.
  • Control is much more difficult once feeding behavior has begun.
  • Birds are a major pest problem from late June until October.
  • Birds are most problematic just prior to and during harvest, as the fruit is turning blue and the sugar content in the fruit is increasing.
  • Watch for birds flocking around the field and look for feeding damage to the berries. Some berries will be gone and some will be torn or ripped.

Cultural Controls:

  • Exclusion (netting the entire field) is the most effective method for controlling bird damage, but can often be impractical.
  • Noisemakers and visual scare devices are available. Check weblinks for full range of options.
  • Falconry has been becoming an ever more common means of bird control. See the research that has been done on Falconry for bird control in blueberries.


For information about chemical controls, check with our Pesticide Guide.


photo by Twin Creeks Natural Resource Center

Bird damage - photo by T. Peerbolt

Bird control tactic - photo by T. Peerbolt

Photo by T. Peerbolt

Photo by T. Peerbolt

Bird scaring cannon - photo by T. Peerbolt

Bird distress call equipment - photo by T. Peerbolt


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Portland, OR 97203

Office: 503-285-0908
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