Parrots and pigeons threaten Argentine sunflowers

Flocks of hungry parrots and pigeons are plaguing sunflower farmers in some parts of Argentina, eating their crops and thinning their wallets.

As swelling numbers of birds feed on fields, growers try to scare them away using balloons with “menacing eyes” painted on them. Farmers in the South American country, a leading global food exporter, also try to scare the birds using reflective tape, scarecrows, and by setting off fireworks.

“The problem is huge, especially in Buenos Aires province. The flocks are getting bigger and bigger, and the plague is spreading,” said Javier Dominguez, a farmer in Lujan, some 43 miles west of the city of Buenos Aires.

Buenos Aires province is the Argentine region that produces the most grains, and some farmers say attacks by the voracious birds can cause crop losses of up to 60 percent.

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