Ravens and golf balls - some answers

Subject: Ravens and golf balls - some answers
Date: Tue, 3 Jun 2003 11:26:48 +1000
After consulting colleague Ian Temby about this issue, he has supplied the
following advice.

"This is not a new problem, but there are no fancy solutions.

The hawk bird scarer may have some impact - for an hour or two until the
ravens have it worked out as a fake!  The becker underwood product can be
an effective bird repellent, but is most unlikely to have any effect when
coated onto golf ball - the ravens are not eating them!  Ingestion of any
of the product is therefore most unlikely to occur.

One possible solution, out of left field, is to assume that the ravens are
stimulated to take the balls because of their resemblance to birds' eggs,
which they certainly consume.  (I had ravens raiding my chook pen, taking
eggs, for a time).  The idea is to leave some real eggs, treated with a
repellent product, on the golf course.  There is an outside chance that the
ravens may be deterred from taking golf balls if they are deterred from
eating genuine eggs.  Such aversion has been demonstrated elsewhere: Avery
et al, 1995. Aversive conditioning to reduce raven predation on California
Least Tern eggs.  Colonial Waterbirds 18(2): 131-138.  In this study,
methiocarb was injected into eggs.  This chemical causes post-ingestional
illness that birds learn to associate with the food treated with the
chemical.  Worth a try, and should be properly set up so that results are
able to be adequately verified.

I would be happy to provide a copy of the above paper to anybody who is in
a position to undertake such a study.  Could be a good honours project if
there was a reasonable likelihood of ravens consistently targeting a golf
course over a long period."

Some links


Aramburu, M.P. and R. Escribano. 1993. Golf: a conflicting recreational 
activity in the Madrid Autonomous Area (Spain). Landscape and Urban Planning

Balogh, J., and W. Walker. 1992. Golf course management and construction: 
environmental issues. Lewis Publishers, Boca Raton, FL. 951 pp.

Becker Underwood Fog Force Bird Repellant -

Martin O'Brien
Department of Sustainability and Environment
4/250 Victoria Pde., East Melbourne  3002

Tel: 9412 4567
(prefixes: Interstate 03 International 613)

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