Date Thesis Awarded
Honors Thesis -- Access Restricted On-Campus Only
Bachelors of Science (BS)
John P. Swaddle
Dana L. Moseley
Pest birds cause billions of dollars in damages in the agricultural (crop loss) and aviation (collision with aircraft) industries annually in the US. Current methods to control problem birds are often ineffective. A new solution: A broadband spatially-controlled noise (termed a “sonic net”) will prevent birds from hearing each other and hearing predators, rendering an area unsuitable and making birds go elsewhere. The goal of the current project is to evaluate whether a “sonic net” is an effective way to deter wild songbirds from food sources. We recorded the behavior and inter-species interactions of birds at feeders located at two sites. The “sonic net” was deployed at one feeder at each site, while the other feeder served as a control without additional noise. Overall, birds spent approximately 35% less time at the “sonic net” feeders compared to control feeders. Dominant species’ duration per visit did not vary significantly (1.4%), while subordinate species were largely affected by noise (51.3%). Additionally, we assessed the inter-species interactions underneath noise and food manipulation (less access to food on control feeder). Socially dominant species spent only 4.45% less time at the “sonic net” feeder as compared to subordinate species (33.5%). This suggests that the “sonic net” may affect species differently depending on interspecies competition, meaning that protection of food crops may depend on species composition in the area. Nonetheless, the “sonic net” is a potential solution to reduce crop loss caused by pest birds from farms over long periods of time.
McClusky, Waverly Gabrielle, "Keeping birds away from food using sonic technology: a potential for protecting crops" (2016). Undergraduate Honors Theses. William & Mary. Paper 901.
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