Sunday, September 13, 2009

Save the Wine

Around here, we take the whole family out and pick the wild grapes which grow prolifically on our little island. Sometimes we head to the mainland and pick blueberries or strawberries. The kids help us make jam or syrup, then we put the rest in a big bucket and get the kids stomping the fruit for wine.

Apparently, starlings are a big problem for grape growers and they need to figure out ways to reduce their losses. I've heard of owl boxes being built and surrounding a farm to protect them from destructive rodents. Many vineyards are finding that nothing is quite so effective as a good falcon in the air if you want to protect you vines from the birds.

It’s harvest time for California’s winemakers, and no one knows that better than starlings. The grape-loving birds can eat their way through a vineyard pretty quickly. Over the years, wine growers have tried a number of methods to scare the birds away, and some are now turning to an ancient art: falconry.

On one early morning in the Camatta Hills Vineyard, falconer Tom Savory and his crew are on the job.

“The birds, the dog and myself — we are a team,” he says. Their small camper truck rolls slowly over the dusty dirt road. Sadie, his dog, sits up front. And behind them, sitting calmly on their own perches, are five falcons.

It’s the falcons’ job to scare off the starlings in this vineyard, where Savory stops his truck.

This would be the perfect job. But then I have to wonder - if it is your job, do you one day wake up and resent having to go out and fly your falcons. Do you not want to go to work?

Check out the article - there is video to go with it from NPR. Thanks Falconry Today.

1 comment:

steveo_uk said...

My sponsor has been asked to fly his Hawks at some of the vineyards around here. its interesting how not all mordern methods are the best !