Blackbirds and the southern rice crop

Resource Publication 100



Blackbirds have been a problem to the rice grower since colonial times. The problem has existed wherever rice is grown because man, by his culture of rice (Oryza sativa), creates food-rich ricefield marshes that apparently are more attractive to blackbirds than the natural marshes in which they have flourished for centuries.

In the 1700's and 1800's, rice was grown in the lowlands of South Carolina, Georgia, and North Carolina - on the major migratory route of the bobolink (Dolichonyx oryzivorus), the historic "ricebird" of that area because of its consumption of ripening rice. By the late 1800's the rice-growing industry had largely shifted to the coastal prairies of Louisiana and Texas, which are bordered by some 5 million acres of marshland-breeding habitat for the redwinged blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus) and the boat-tailed grackle (Cassidix mexicanus). By 1900, rice was being grown on the Grand Prairie of eastern Arkansas, which bestrides the largest blackbird flyway in the country. In recent decades, rice culture has spread to other sections of Arkansas and thence to contiguous areas in Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennesee, and Missouri. In effect, then, man has taken the rice to the blackbirds.

Publication type Report
Publication Subtype Federal Government Series
Title Blackbirds and the southern rice crop
Series title Resource Publication
Series number 100
Year Published 1971
Language English
Publisher U.S. Government Print Office
Publisher location Washington, DC
Description iv, 64 p.
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N
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