Le contrôle des oiseaux ravageurs des cultures : de la destruction à la gestion


fr Anthropozoologica 31 - Pages 219-228

Published on 01 December 2000

This article is a part of the thematic issue Animal management and demography through the ages

The control of pest birds: from destruction to management

This paper uses a number of historical examples to illustrate the actions of man against agricultural pest birds. Killing birds is the most common method used whatever the species or the damage caused, although this strategy produces generally poor results. For example killing queleas, pigeons, or European starlings has failed to reduce populations to this day. For several centuries the starling was an appreciated bird, then it became the first pest bird in Europe and the USA after the second world war; overnight it became a species to be reduced. This change of status emphasiscs that the degree of value of a species is not taken into account in the choice of control method. Also no consideration has been given to the human behaviour which has led to an increase in the food and shelter available to these birds. These remarks raise two questions on wildlife rnanagement: firstly, can we apply the concept of management to the destruction of birds while there is virtually no constructive thinking on bird biology leading to planning? Secondly, when opting for destruction, is it not the case that the poor recollection of past experiments, alongside political expediency, devalues the work of technicians and scientists?


Pest birds, Killing strategy, Population management.

Download full article in PDF format Order a reprint