USDA Bird Kill


During 2009, the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service – Wildlife Services, euthanized nearly 4 Million birds in the U.S.

Given the high profile reporting lately of the mysterious bird kill incidences, it was startling to come across a report from where they had discovered a U.S. government document which lists statistics of euthanized animals during the year 2009 by the USDA APHIS WS. Many of them are birds.

It is understandable how there are occasional situations that require pest control.
The real question is, under what circumstances is it justifiable to kill animals?

Perhaps one of these?

When harvesting to consume as food
When human life is in danger
Dangerous disease (e.g. avian virus-contamination threat to humans)

These three statements seem to be the only that seem ‘OK’.
So, what is this government agency doing, and why?
Why would they kill (or if your prefer, euthanize) these birds?

We haven’t heard of avian virus-contaminated birds flocking around the U.S. in the news. Perhaps a reader in-the-know can offer up an explanation…

Many people happen to enjoy watching birds. Bird feeders in the yard bring an amazing variety (many of which are on the following government ‘kill’ list) and hours of enjoyment watching their behavior and listening to their song. Every year for the past 5 or 6 years we’ve had a pair of house finch’s build a nest in the same spot and raise 3 or 4 little one’s till they fly away (these are also on the ‘kill’ list).

The USDA APHIS WS homepage includes a statement, “WS NWRC research scientists are dedicated to the development of wildlife damage management methods… to reduce threats to human health and safety“, which was about all I could find for an explanation at this time.

It seems that they believe that for our health and safety, they had to kill 1.2 million Starlings, 6 thousand House Finch’s, 16,000 Mourning Doves, and 2.5 million other birds from various groups.

House Finch’s… Really?

It may be a little more ‘real’ to have a look at the following list of government bird kills, along with the pictures of the birds themselves. There were so many, that this list only includes kills that were greater than quantities of 1,000.

USDA APHIS WS 2009 Bird Euthanasia

Red Avadavat (2,873)
Brewer’s Blackbird (4,609)
Red-Winged Blackbird (965,889)


Blackbirds-mixed (22,276)
Red-Vented Bulbul (1,436)
Red-Crested Cardinal (4,013)

Double-Crested Cormorants (17,394)
Brown-Headed Cowbirds (1,046,109)
American Crows (10,578)

Eurasian-Collared Doves (1,327)
Mourning Doves (16,912)
Spotted Doves (15,035)

Zebra Doves (19,694)
Mallard Ducks (2,494)
Cattle Egrets (3,126)

House Finch (6,338)
Gray Francolin (1,868)
Canada Goose (24,519)

Boat-Tailed Grackle (4,736)
Common Grackle (93,210)
Great-Tailed Grackle (16,414)

California Gull (1,131)
Glaucous-Winged Gull (3,934)
Herring Gull (3,871)

Laughing Gull (5,092)
Ring-Billed Gull (6,515)
Horned Lark (1,017)

Chestnut Mannikin (41,794)
Nutmeg Mannikin (25,196)
Eastern Meadowlark (1,145)

Myna (4,087)
Feral Pigeon (96,297)
Raven (3,864)

House Sparrow (6,297)
Java Sparrow (17,635)
European Starling (1,259,714)

Black Vulture (2,684)
Turkey Vulture (1,454)

What does this report have to do with modern survival or preparedness? Simply to point out how all too often it seems that ‘the government knows better’, and in this case, even better than nature itself.

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  1. tjaty2 January 22, 2011 4:10 PM
    • BirdMan February 15, 2012 5:24 AM
  2. R. de Haan January 22, 2011 9:31 PM
  3. Hillary February 5, 2011 4:17 PM
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