Over the last few years I have noticed bird damage becoming an increasing problem. Neighbouring properties have used bird nets selectively, however their use was becoming more wide spread. Their increased netting kicked the can down the road to our vineyard, and last year I estimate we lost 1+ tonne of fruit.
Assessing a few options – and trialling a Hawk Kite, which while effective in a small area, was easily damaged in strong winds and required too much maintenance – I decided against bird netting and drones due to their cost, negative impact on all wildlife and noise.
Bird nets are known to trap any animals underneath, potentially leading to trapped, injured and dead wildlife. Drones would irritate the neighbours, as would a gas gun or other noise repellers.
Bird damage in Shiraz vineyard block
Instead I have chosen to install a Hawk Laser which creates a single, bright laser beam that tracks across the vineyard canopy and unsettles the birds. While it’s not 100% protection like a physical barrier, it causes no harm to the wildlife, and is running largely off our solar system.
Powered by the sun, the laser tracks between 80 pre-set waypoints. The beam is barely visible to our eyes during the day, but at dawn and dusk we see it dancing between the vines.
Some bird damage is still visible closest to the road side. In previous years, this damage would extend for maybe 50 meters down the vine rows. This year – so far – it’s only 3 meters.
It’s early days and brave or hungry birds may yet cause more damage, but so far the modern day scarecrow is doing a solid job, and the cats can take five and continue to snooze in the sun.
Installing the Hawk Laser
The Hawk Laser path at dusk