Blackbirds destroy millions of dollars worth of crops in North Dakota


BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — North Dakota agricultural officials say there’s help available for the millions of dollars in crop damage caused by blackbirds each year.

Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring says the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Wildlife Services program loans nonlethal management equipment to farmers to help disperse blackbirds that attack sunflower and grain crops.

The USDA says of eight states with significant sunflower acreage that were surveyed, North Dakota ranked first in bird damage to confectionery and oilseed sunflowers. The study found the eight states lose a total of $29.5 million annually from bird damage to sunflowers.