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For more than 42 years, vineyard managers and growers have benefitted from revolutionary bird deterrence practices developed by Falcon Crop Protection that have either reduced or completely eliminated the extensive damage that can result from bird encroachment at the winery or in the field.

The company may be best known for its Falcon FrightKites, self-launching kites in the shape of large birds of prey that frighten small birds away from valuable vineyard fruit the moment they are spotted.

Vineyards between one to ten acres have consistently reported nearly 100 percent satisfaction by installing up to six of the devices. 

Now, large-scale vineyard managers are also realizing that the cost ratio to benefit formula might really work in their favor for complete protection in areas of 20 acres plus.

According to Falcon Crop Protection owner and CEO Roger Snow “sometimes a grower will say ‘I’ve got 20 acres and if I put up kites, I’ll just be chasing the birds around the vineyard,’ but it’s not proving to be true. We’re finding that in large scale vineyards, as well as in the smaller ones, once they see a kite, the birds completely disappear.”

Snow recommends the following practices for all vineyard management, large scale and small, for most effective protection.

  • Install FrightKites early in the season while the canopy is still forming to prevent nesting. Once birds are present, a mother will not abandon the nest once there are eggs or young, so eliminating the birds becomes much more difficult.
  • Note the flight path of birds in the vineyard. Birds will generally follow the same patterns of property access and FrightKites can be placed near bordering trees or power lines where birds “stage” to look for opportunities to get at the food.
  • Look at the layout of the vineyard and concentrate on: location and height of boundary trees; location of power lines and other objects birds use to stage; topography of vineyard to identify peaks and valleys.
  • The object is to install FrightKites high enough in the air so they can be seen as far off as possible by approaching birds.

Snow advises growers to start with a limited number of Falcon FrightKites to start with and then carefully monitor fruit damage. There should be minimal to zero damage between kites. Significant damage means kites should be brought closer together. Perimeter damage can be mitigated by the installation of more kites brought together until maximum protection is achieved.

“Until you put up a kite and try it, you won’t really know how it’s going to work,” Snow points out. “Don’t mess with the math. Just get a kite up and then you can work with what you’ve got.”

For more information and orders, go to: www.falconcropprotection.com.

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