A Bird of Prey to Keep the Snackers at Bay!
Birds can be a big nuisance in the vineyard, especially as the fruit begins to ripen when some like nothing more to snack on the grapes. This is particularly worrying for us as we are close to a landfill site which is often covered in scavenging birds.
Vineyard managers use a variety of techniques to try and protect the fruit, such as hanging shiny CD's on the trellising, automatic firecrackers, rockets, electronic audio bird repellers and of course netting.
One of the most effective deterrents is a bird of prey. However, as we don't have a local falconry, we've invested in the next best thing which is a kite in the shape of a hawk which swoops, dives and climbs in the wind just like a real hawk. It is attached to a 25m flying line with a 13m kite pole and should protect 3 to 4 acres of vineyard. We have also bought a Vigilante Helikite which is a shiny balloon filled with helium which flies up to 60m high and theoretically will scare birds off the whole of the vineyard. Both these products can be purchased from Allsopp Helikites
So far the Hawk Kite seems to be flying well; time will tell how effective it is keeping the birds away. Later this week we will try out the Helikite. Hopefully the birds in Albury will decide it's safer to stay on the landfill.