The USDA estimates the birds cause about $10 million in damage to sunflower each year in North Dakota. The North Dakota legislature is considering a bill to spend nearly $80,000 to help a federal effort to control blackbirds. The method of control includes baiting and killing the birds and the use of noise cannons that scare the blackbirds. There is also support of placing poison on gravel roads so when the birds stop on the road to grit their gizzards to help them digest food, they would ingest the poison.
Supporters of using poisoned bail say other control methods only move blackbirds from one field to another. Opponents say the poison will kill more than the birds.