Odd pod carnage could be birds

Canola in Western Canada rarely gets bird damage, but small birds can be attracted to ripening pods. CCC agronomy specialist took the photo below, and the culprits were little birds.

Damage is not widespread and is usually along field edges. Pecked pods tend to be in fields that are a little more advanced than others in the area. Hungry birds recognize the food value of ripening canola and target these riper pods.  Birds tend to become concentrated on any available food if crop maturity is delayed – like it currently is in central Alberta. 

Identifying bird damage. Pods along entire stems can be affected, and will often look ripped or torn apart.  Mouse or rodent damage could appear similar,  however other evidence like nests (middens),  burrows or excrement will assist in diagnosis of the cause of your missing seeds.

Bird damage in a canola field near Crossfield, Alberta.