Every year in California alone, vintners and farmers lose millions of dollars to birds feeding on their grapes, seeds, and crops. Veraison is a particularly difficult time for vineyards. Grapes are at their most vulnerable when they are approaching their peak – birds love those juicy berries!
To combat this force of nature, growers have traditionally tried expensive and labor-intensive methods of mitigating bird damage in their vineyard. They’ve used sound-emitting devices, introduced other large birds of prey, placed netting in the fruiting zone and even tried netting the entire canopy, ultimately learning that nothing has truly provided an economic or socially acceptable solution to the problem. Luckily, the industry has been buzzing about a new solution that has shown spectacular results from guarding against bird damage without any netting whatsoever.
Since Falcon Crop Protection (FCP) began the marketing of its FrightKites™ a few years ago, demand for the highly effective product has reached the point where the number of falcon-shaped kites may outnumber those of the real raptors.
FrightKites™ are made with a durable material designed in the shape of a predator bird that self-launches and flies at the end of a pole using an extension line that can lift the kite up to 65 feet high in as little as 1-2mph of wind – unsupervised.
The kites, which simulate the shape and movement of real falcons, activate the instinctive fear mechanism of small birds that are natural prey for falcons and other raptors. Once the smaller birds see the kite flying above a designated vineyard, the entire flock will shift direction in order to avoid contact with their perceived enemy, providing near-complete protection of the crop.
Testimonials from current users place the reduction in damage at 95%. Compared to a laser which can cost up to $10,000, FrightKite provides an excellent and inexpensive return on investment. Conventional netting methods are labor-intensive, and unless done precisely, birds often become trapped inside.
“We LOVE our Falcon FrightKite. Not only are they amazing to see & a great conversation piece, we did NOT put up ANY bird netting last year and we had zero bird damage” noted Kevin and Wendy, Owners of Tara Bella Winery, on their success with the Falcon FrightKite.
FrightKites™ are extremely cost-effective compared with netting or other labor-intensive vineyard protection measures, very simple to install and last for many years. In fact, the cost of just one FrightKite™ can be recovered many times over in just one season through the monetary savings in grapes.
Check out our video and testimonials at www.falconcropprotection.com. For questions or to see if Falcon FrightKite is right for you, contact us today!