pest birds

Why Keeping Pest Birds Away From Your Hotel Matters

For hotel owners, pest control is a major issue that needs to be maintained and, unfortunately, never goes away.

From making sure your business isn’t contaminated by bed bugs or insects, to making sure pest birds aren’t turning your buildings into homes, it can be a full-time job keeping them under control.

Something many owners may not think about, though, are the negative impacts birds may have on their guests and their infrastructure. If you’d like to learn more about why it’s important to keep animals like starlings and pigeons away from your hotel and guests, keep reading!

Pest Birds Disrupt Guests

When it comes to pests and hotels, it’s important to maintain good customer service. If pests like birds or bugs are harassing your customers, it may be time to call in an exterminator.

You don’t want to risk good reviews by having a dirty hotel. Or by letting your guests be pushed around by vermin who think the hotel may be a good roosting place.

Pests Can Damage Buildings

Sometimes the unseen damage a pest can wreak on a building can be the downfall of a five-star hotel. Birds make nests in the strangest places. If you notice your gutters are clogging, you may have starling nests in your drainage systems.

Clogged gutters can lead to standing water which may lead to further insect problems.

If your shingles are crumbling at faster rates, pigeons may be damaging them. Birds can easily dislodge tiles and shingles, removing the insulation beneath for their nests.

Bird poop is also extremely damaging for paint and mortar. It can also lead to treacherous walkways for guests.

Diseases Can Spread

Birds are known to carry and transmit hundreds of diseases. A high contamination rate can lead to illness and even water contamination. If you’re noticing flocks of birds surrounding your hotel and property, it may be time to call in an exterminator.

Birds Can Become Aggressive

Flocks of birds can do a lot more than just damage your buildings. Pest birds may become aggressive if they are not contained. They will protect their nests and babies no matter what. If you do not contain them, they may turn your hotel into a permanent roost.

Which, of course, can lead to negative human-bird interactions. Birds are known to dive bomb people walking near their nests or homes. Situations like this can grow out of hand, endangering your staff and your guest’s lives.

Keep Your Hotel Safe: Time to Call in the Kites

Removing pest birds from your property may seem like a daunting task.

But like most things, maintaining a consistent presence will keep birds at bay and keep your guests happy. Thankfully there are humane ways to keep birds away from your hotel.

Fright Kites are an effective means of scaring birds away from your land. They will not harm any birds that come close. They appear like birds of prey to starlings and pigeons.

If you’d like to learn more about this humane extermination method, click here.

how to get rid of starlings

Bye, Bye, Birdie: Everything You Need to Know About How to Get Rid Starlings

Got some starlings driving you nuts?

While the European starling is a beautiful bird, they can easily become pests. Since they have a tendency to flock in large numbers, they can easily cause damage to your property.

Do you need some help with how to get rid of starlings? Check out the list below.

Remove Any Food Sources

If starlings are hanging around, there are likely a few food sources nearby. If you have things like fruit bearing trees or shrubs, you should either remove these or cover them up with netting.

Also, be sure to remove any outdoor pet food or compost heaps, as this could also attract flocks of starlings.

Prune Your Trees

Are you suffering from an European starling invasion? Well, starlings love to roost in trees.

Prune your trees to make the branches less dense. This will discourage flocks of starlings from gathering, as they will feel more exposed and less comfortable.

This strategy is more effective on large flocks of starlings. If you’re only dealing with a small number of birds, you might want to try a different strategy.

Eliminate Places They Can Nest

You can make an area significantly less attractive to starlings by restricting the areas they might be able to make nests in. Starlings need an entrance hole of around 1.5 inches in diameter.

You should search for any nooks and crannies where a starling might be able to use as a nest and fill in the opening.

Install an Electric Track

Installing an electrified track is a great way to encourage starlings to move on.

The track is laid along surfaces the starlings are likely to land on. The track will administer a light electric shock on contact.

The shock is not strong enough that it is dangerous to the birds. But it’s enough for them to remember it and stay away.

FrightKites

Another great deterrent method is a FrightKite. FrightKites are kites made to resemble birds of prey.

To starlings, these kites are indistinguishable from the real thing. If you’re looking for a humane and effective way to control your starling problem, consider ordering a FrightKite. These kites have been used effectively in a variety of settings.

Repel Them With Sound

Repelling starlings with sound is often quite effective. You could try playing recordings of predator birds.

It doesn’t always need to be this sophisticated. Any loud noise should be enough to scare starlings away.

How to Get Rid of Starlings With Traps

If you have tried every other method, but still have starlings around, you might need to consider a more extreme option.

Compared with other options, setting up traps is a time-consuming process. Also, know that traps are not a viable solution on their own. If you remove starlings via traps, you have not eliminated the conditions that attracted them in the first place.

Therefore, traps should only be used in combination with other deterrent methods.

Want to know more about how to get rid of starlings using FrightKites? Check out our product page!

pigeon problems

Understanding and Dealing with Pigeon Problems at Oil Refineries

You scan your oil refinery with pride. But seemingly out of nowhere, you spot something in the sky.

All of a sudden, you feel like you could cry.

Why?

Because that thing in the sky is an annoying pigeon.

Small pigeons may seem harmless enough. But the truth is that these common North American birds can cause your oil refinery a slew of problems.

For instance, they can hurt your business’s image. On top of this, their droppings may contain ectoparasites, bacteria and fungal agents that can pose health issues.

Pigeons’ droppings can also create dangerous surfaces leading to slip-and-fall accidents.

If you’re experiencing pigeon problems at your premises, it’s time to take action. Here’s how you can overcome your pigeon issues this fall.

Let’s get started!

Get Rid of Pigeon Food Sources

First and foremost, get rid of any food sources on your oil refinery premises that may attract these unwanted pest birds.

For instance, clean up bird seeds and grains that might make your premises a convenient place for pigeons to roost.

Also, secure trash cans as well as other waste sources.

Eliminate Pigeon Water Sources

In addition to eliminating food sources, get rid of water sources that may lure pigeons to your oil refinery.

Even just a tiny quantity of standing water may support a population of obnoxious birds.

If your property lacks water, pigeons will be less likely to choose it over another one that has water readily available.

Get Rid of Pigeon Nests

If you spot pigeon nests around your property, destroy them. You can simply do this by using a rake or even a tree branch.

If you do this every couple of weeks or so, this will keep pigeon eggs from hatching. The pigeons will eventually realize what’s going on and will take off to a safer area.

How We Can Help with Your Pigeon Problems

Another way you can finally bid adieu to those pesky pigeons for good is with our unique products, known as Falcon FrightKites.

These self-launching products can silently patrol the sky over your oil refinery. They soar high so that pigeons can easily see them even from a long distance.

Once pigeons spot your FrightKite, they’ll fly away in terror.

So, why exactly are our products so powerful? Because they essentially work on your pigeons’ inherent fear of birds of prey.

Pigeons are actually less fearful of you than they are of being attacked from above. After all, if they spot you on the ground, they can simply fly away. However, if they see a prey bird in the air, they can still be attacked right away.

With our products, you can finally eradicate your pigeon issue and focus on what you really care about most: keeping your oil refinery operating smoothly from one day to the next.

Get in touch with us to find out more about how our products can help you to finally beat your pigeon problems. With our help, you can consistently keep your property free of these pests in the months and years ahead.

Landfill Management 101: How to Get Rid of Seagulls

There are over 50 species of seagulls all over the world. All these species prefer to live in colonies.

Unfortunately, because they live in colonies, once they become attracted to certain areas or landfills you may find the place becomes overrun with them. This can make them pesky.

If you would like to find out how to get rid of seagulls, once they start becoming a pest, here are a few tips which will show you how. Read on to learn more!

1. Use Predators

You can employ the services of a falconer if you want to rid a landfill of seagulls. A falconer will deploy a falcon to the site to scare off the birds. Sometimes, the falconer may also use a hawk to help scare off the seagulls.

If you can’t employ a real falcon then you can purchase a frightkite which is a replica of a falcon. This will also work to scare off seagulls.

Falcons and hawks are predatory birds which will attack and attempt to eat seagulls. The gulls know this and scatter when they are around.

But, this method requires a bit of tending. This means you will have to keep bringing in the real Falcons or flying your falcon kite from time to time or the seagulls will come back.

2. How To Get Rid Of Seagulls with Terror Eyes

The use of what is known as “terror eyes” is one way to keep pesky seagulls away from landfills. Get brightly colored owl faces painted on masks. You can also get them painted on balloons.

Another thing you can try is wooden owls and fake coyotes. While you may have to put up with having these fake animals around at least you will scare the birds off.

3. Try Irritating Them

There are several things which can irritate seagulls. These include noises, lights, and smells. Using one or a combination is usually effective at scaring them off.

There are amplifiers and canons you can use to scare them off as well. You can fool the pesky seagulls by playing sounds from animals which prey on them.

Strobe lights have also been known to be effective at deterring these birds. The strobe lights flash at intervals creating confusion.

You can buy repellant. The best ones are usually made of a sticky substance that tastes or smells bad. Put this in areas where the birds like to feed.

4. Use Objects That Spin

Set up objects that spin in the wind to scare off seagulls. Buy mechanical devices that have a spider shape and rotate.

You can also buy propellers and erect them all over your landfill to get rid of the gulls. The spinning of the propellers is what scares them off.

Final Thoughts

Knowing how to get rid of seagulls is a necessity when they regularly flock to your landfill. Fortunately, there are many ways you can get rid of them.

You can deploy falcons whether real or fake to stop them from flocking to your landfill. You can also irritate them with lights, sounds, and bad smells.

You can even try to trick them by using owl shaped objects and other fake animals of prey. Mechanical devices that spin are also another way you can try to rid a landfill of these birds.

If you would like more help with getting rid of pesky seagulls then please visit our blog, we have articles which will give you excellent advice.

fruit eating birds

A More Effective Method for Keeping Fruit Eating Birds Away from Your Orchard

Fruit eating birds can cause serious damage to your crops.

If left uncontrolled, they’ll eat their way through your orchard before you get a chance to pick a single fruit. You can choose from a number of different strategies in attempts to keep the birds away from your crop, but they all come with unavoidable disadvantages.

That is, all of them except for Falcon FrightKites.

Below, we’ve broken down some common pest control options and why Falcon FrightKites are a better option.

The Netting Method

This method can be expensive, but it takes a lot of work and a lot of money to pull off properly.

It involves covering your trees or vines with bird netting. You drape this netting over the plants and secure it to the ground at the bottom so the birds can’t get to the fruit.

While this might sound good, it takes a lot of work to set up. If the netting is up against the fruit, the birds can eat the fruit through the netting. Because of this, you might have to build individual frames around each plant.

If you have a lot of time and money to spend on bird netting, this can be a good option. But it’s not an effective choice for trees and vines that are still doing a lot of growing.

The Windmill Method

Putting a number of small windmills throughout your orchard can scare off the birds. The spinning blades catch the light and give the appearance of a flock of birds suddenly taking flight.

In order for this method to work, you have to move the windmills to different parts of your orchard every few days. If you don’t move them, the birds will get used to them and eat the fruit anyway.

Spending all the time moving them can turn into a hassle.

The Sound Method

You can broadcast predator sounds or bird distress sounds in your orchard to scare birds away. You can either go one step further and set up decoys of their natural predators, such as owls.

The problem is you can’t play these sounds continuously or the birds will learn not to be afraid of them. On top of that, you have to move them around your crop to keep the birds afraid.

The Distraction Method

Some people believe giving the birds a different food source will keep them from getting into the orchard. You can put other food, like corn or bird seed, in your yard.

But this doesn’t always work. Just because the birds have more food doesn’t guarantee they’ll stay out of your fruit.

What Makes Falcon FrightKites More Effective for Fruit eating Birds?

Falcon FrightKites work better than these other bird control options. They’re a lot easier to set up and they’re a lot cheaper too.

But what are they?

We design our FrightKites to look similar to normal falcons. Because of their color, wings, tail, feet, eyes, and overall shape, birds can’t tell the difference between falcons and the kites.

A FrightKite can glide, hover, dive, and climb in randomized paths that make it look like they’re hunting. When birds see a FrightKite, they’ll turn around right away and fly somewhere else.

FrightKites are also less expensive than netting and less labor intensive than windmills or broadcastings. Once you set up your FrightKite, it will launch and fly around your crop on its own. In fact, our studies show that FrightKites have a 95-100% success rate for any orchard.

Are you interested in buying your own FrightKite to scare away fruit eating birds? Click here to see some of our options.

problems with seagulls

Uncovering the Main Problems With Seagulls and How to Get Rid of Them

Everyone knows the noisy laugh of the seagull. We’ve all seen them hovering above crowds on the boardwalk, searching for their next meal.

But seagulls don’t just steal food from beach vacationers. They threaten human safety and can even transmit diseases.

For business owners, however, they pose a unique threat. Hungry gulls can cause serious damage to vineyards, farms and other industries.

Keep reading to learn about the main problems with seagulls and ways to get rid of these pesky birds.

They Eat Everything

While there are different types of gulls, what unites them is their ability to learn quickly and adapt to new environments.

Seagulls will eat just about anything, including garbage. This is a problem for businesses whose crops are at risk.

There are simple ways to modify a habitat so it’s less appealing to seagulls:

  • Avoid dropping trash or litter
  • Never feed them
  • Keep your garbage cans tightly closed

Removing sites where birds can feed, rest, or create a nest may discourage them from certain areas.

If possible, you can also try to limit mowing fields and lawns. Tall grass is a known seagull deterrent.

They’re Aggressive

Because gulls can be quite aggressive and unhygienic, it’s important to find a way to scare them off.

Various methods exist for frightening seagulls. They range in cost and proven effectiveness.

A new strategy to scare away gulls involves dogs. Sheepdogs have been proven to chase off the birds and reduce their population numbers. They’re best employed at peak hours when the seagulls are most active.

There are different electronic gadgets you can purchase that make loud noises, alarming and confusing gulls. These include amplifiers that imitate the calls of other predatory birds.

Some businesses and individuals have tried seagull scarers for roofs and buildings such as wire or polyurethane netting.

Some Scare Methods Don’t Last

Every method has its advantages and limitations. The problem with many is that they’re only short-term fixes.

The most effective and long-lasting seagull scarer on the market is the Falcon FrightKite.

Falconry is a go-to for pest control, but using real birds can be expensive. Using a FrightKite has a similar impact while remaining cost-effective. Businesses have already experienced the benefits of this method.

The kite is constructed with sturdy material that can withstand high winds. It’s also designed to prevent damage from sun damage and deterioration.

When you use the kite, seagulls are scared off by the sight of a predator and will leave your crops alone. It’s also a way to repel gulls without harming them or removing their nests.

End Your Problems with Seagulls

When it comes to seagulls, preventative measures are important.

But, to see real results eliminating your problems with seagulls, you also need a method that’s proven to work.

The Falcon FrightKite takes the main problems with these pests into consideration. On top of being effective, it will cost you a fraction of the price of other methods.

To purchase a FrightKite, visit here.

falcons for pest control

The Benefits of Using Falcons for Pest Control in Your Vineyard

There are somewhere around a dozen birds of prey common in the United States, each existing as an alpha predator among 10,000 species of bird.

One such is the falcon.

Falcons are helpful to farmers looking for pest control solutions to protect their vineyards from menacing birds.

With this guide, you’ll learn three farming facts that will make you think about falcons for pest control.

Fact 1: You Can Use Falcons for Pest Control

We’ve entered into a consumer age where people are concerned about the ethics of what they eat and drink.

In fact, Millennial shoppers may be more concerned about corporate ethics than previous generations.

Today’s shoppers want their fruits and veggies to be as clean from harmful chemicals and pesticides as possible. And that means they are eyeballing what goes into their wine too.

Using falconry, farmers can reduce the number of chemicals their grapes are exposed to.

To learn more about falconry for pest control, it’s important to understand the several types of birds that farmers must be leary of:

  • Blackbirds
  • Crows
  • Robins
  • Sparrows
  • Starlings

These five birds are among the main avian pests that fruit farmers deal with.

Companies that specialize in falconry can bring in experts that will use trained falcons to purge the vineyard of pesky birds. But this service doesn’t come cheap, as we will describe below.

When experts bring trained falcons to your vineyard to ward off smaller birds, like starlings, this usually occurs just before the crop is ready to harvest.

The reason being is because the birds will return once the falcons are gone, and to repeat this process can be costly.

Fact 2: Falconry is Expensive

It’s estimated that bird damage to crops costs farmers $4.3 million per year.

When you look at the big picture, throwing tens of thousands into pest control solutions may not seem like a lot.

But to farmers who have hefty operating expenses already, it can be difficult to justify the cost of falconry as a means of pest control.

In most cases, hiring a falconer for bird abatement can cost up to $1,000 per day. For this reason, many farmers who choose to use falcons to ward off pests wait until the end of their crop cycle to bring in the birds for a couple of days.

Fact 3: There’s a Better Way

For those farmers who want natural protection for their crops and aren’t interested in stretching their operational budget, there’s another way.

Falcon FrightKites are a handy method of natural pest control that works similarly to releasing a real trained falcon for a fraction of the cost.

A FrightKite is it’s a tool to ward off smaller birds that fear being eaten by a predator.

Birds will follow their biological impulse to flee in the face of danger when they see a FrightKite, and leave the vineyard to be harvested.

Protect Your Crops Today

The effect a FrightKite can have on your vineyard is profound, and it doesn’t cost $1,000 a day like using falcons for pest control.

With prices starting at under $300 for your reusable FrightKite set, you can’t afford to miss out on this option.

To get your Falcon FrightKite, click here.

bird pests

Farm Pest Control 101: Identifying Bird Pests

There are an estimated 10,000 bird species on the planet. But if you run a farm or vineyard, you need to only concern yourself with just a few. Certain species of birds and lay waste to your crops and facilities if you aren’t adequately guarding against them.

In this guide, we’ll brief you on the biggest bird pests that you’re likely to run into on your farm and how to identify them.

Crows

If you have an apple orchard, you may be particularly susceptible to invasive crow populations. Crows love apples and are known to peck large triangular holes into them. This, of course, ruins the apples, making them more susceptible to rot and insect damage.

Crows will eat almost anything, else too. They love grains and garbage on top of apples, so you’re likely to run into them regardless of crop.

Spotting a crow is relatively easy, as they’re all-black birds that travel in large groups. They’re vocal birds with hoarse caws. Crows are easily mistaken for ravens, but crows are generally smaller and have shorter beaks and tail feathers.

Sparrows

Sparrows can prove ruinous to crops, but they’re particularly disastrous if they invade your buildings and other infrastructure. Sparrows like to build large, dense nests made of grass, straw, weeds, and garbage. These nests can do damage to the sidings of houses, and clog drainage pipes and gutters.

To spot a sparrow, look out for a black chest and white cheeks in males, and a grey color in females. They also have a noisy, droning chirp that is easy to distinguish.

Robins

American robins are common and beautiful birds that can lay waste to your fruit crops if you aren’t careful. These birds love to feast on cherries, grapes, berries, and other small fruits. If they aren’t managed, these birds can cause sizable crop damage.

You can spot these birds easily, as they have a unique reddish-orange breast and gray wings.

Blackbirds

Blackbirds are one of the biggest destroyers of grain crops in the U.S., at least when it comes to birds. In 1970, a study found that nearly 6.8 million bushels of corn crops were ruined by blackbirds alone.

Identifying a blackbird is relatively easy. The males are small all-black birds (similar to crows) with orange beaks. The females, ironically, are a bit browner in color and lack the signature orange beak.

Starlings

Starlings are quite the sight to behold, as they tend to flock together in the thousands. Of course, if they happen to welcome themselves to your land, they can absolutely take over your trees and rooftops, devouring everything in sight.

To spot a starling, look for flecks of white in their black-purplish feathers as well as pointed feathers on their wings when they’re flying.

Need Help Controlling Bird Pests?

Now that you know who the biggest avian threats are to your crops or farm buildings, you can now work on deterring them. There are many ways to manage an invasion of birds onto your property, but the best and most cost-efficient may be our FrightKites.

These kites, designed to look like large birds of prey, will keep even the most adamant bird pests away.

crop damage

How to Get Rid of Canadian Geese and Avoid Major Crop Damage

Canadian geese are a beautiful breed of bird. They’re majestic, regal, and unfortunately, they can cause quite a bit of damage to a field of crops.

Canadian geese can cause problems, as they tend to travel in large flocks and graze twice per day.

For decades, agricultural experts have struggled to keep these winged pests away from their crops. Through their hard work and labor, we’ve learned some of the best ways to prevent trouble before it starts.

Here are some of the best tips you can use to keep Canadian geese from causing crop damage.

How to Spot Crop Damage

Observing the geese directly is obviously the simplest way to determine whether or not these pests are causing problems, but you can also examine your field’s plants for a few telltale signs.

Analyze your crops’ leaves. Do they look torn or shredded? Geese’s teeth are serrated, like what you’d see on a saw or certain knives. Sharp, jagged tears in plants are often a sign that you have some unwanted guests.

Of course, Canadian geese aren’t exactly subtle about their presence, as they have a distinct tendency to leave droppings all over the place. While this is both unsightly and annoying, you may actually be able to use it as fertilizer for certain flowers.

Install Fencing

One of the simplest and most cost-effective methods of keeping geese away is by installing a wired fence around your property.

As pesky as geese can be, they’re also quite lazy. They don’t want to work for their meals, so they’ll only go after crops if they can see a direct path to their food.

Adding a few feet of finely-meshed fence facing their nest will typically deter them. If your property contains standing water, you may also want to install a fence three inches above the water itself.

Change Your Landscaping Techniques

Geese prefer to land in softer areas with shorter grass. This is because they want to directly assess their surroundings and any potential threats, including snakes.

While most of us mow our lawns to keep our grass as short as possible, leaving a little bit of length can keep birds away. Grass higher than three inches is best.

Use Fright Tactics

Geese act on instinct. Should they sense the presence of another foe (even a fake one) they’re likely to retreat. For this reason, many agricultural experts install scarecrows and gas cannons to scare away any birds.

However, these can be both expensive and loud. Instead, add a few kites that resemble natural predators.

Farmers with multiple kites surrounding their field are reporting up to 95 percent less crop damage.

Prevent Crop Damage Before It’s Too Late

Knowing what to look for and how to prevent any further damage can save agricultural experts vast amounts of time and money.

If you’re looking to keep Canadian geese or any pests away from your crops, get in touch with Falcon Crop Protection for natural deterrents to keep pests away without causing physical harm.

Looking for more crop damage prevention tips? Be sure to check back with our blog for more info.

Bird Repellent Alternatives to Gas Cannons and Netting: Falcon FrightKites

Over recent years, the emergence of falcon replica kites has issued a challenge to more established opinions on how to scare birds away from vineyards. One fact that has not changed is that bird damage to grapes incurs a significant cost that justifies reducing to the economic minimum. With grapes at $4000 a ton and losses in the range of 10-80%, the cost of bird damage is very significant indeed.

Widespread use of flash tape, plastic owls attached to poles, sound devices, and other “hopefuls” have all but fallen by the wayside as being ineffective but not cheap. Although still prevalent in many vineyards, these bird repellents are more like window dressings than effective solutions. Vineyard managers are essentially left with propane gas cannons and netting the only effective means of minimizing crop losses due to bird damage. Or does it?

Many owners and managers have tried with great success the relatively new falcon replica “FrightKites.” Made from weather, wind, and sun resistant fabric, these kites replicate the size, shape, color, and airborne random movements of a real falcon. Falcons are one of the most widely feared predators of birds in the wild. Flying from a telescoping pole, these kites can reach a height of 70ft in the air, so they are visible from birds in flight approaching vineyards. A mere 2 mph wind will cause these kites to rise in the air and be seen hovering just over the vineyard canopy. As the wind increases, so does the acrobatics of the kite, and the movements are totally random to minimize birds getting “accustomed” to its presence.

The primary objective is to get the kite airborne so approaching birds see it and recognize it from sufficient distance away to cause them to change direction and avoid the pace in which it is flying. If you were a bird approaching a vineyard and saw what appears to be one or more hunting falcons, would you keep going to land directly under its eye or would you merely veer away and feed at another adjacent but unprotected vineyard?

Do they really work?

Yes! Vineyard owners and managers are seeing and reporting results of over 95% elimination of bird damage to grapes.

Sales of 10 or more FrightKites per customer are not uncommon, and usage is now growing to include protection of fruit trees, home gardens, nuts, vegetables, and other commodities.

The left photo below shows Dan Barwick from Paradise Ridge in 2017, inspecting grapes that were fully exposed and protected only by the FrightKite. The prior year, he had used netting. The lower right photo shows the typical fruit damage in an unprotected vineyard of Pinot grapes.

After a test period of only 3-4 weeks, Dan purchased six more Falcon FrightKites and employed no netting at all.

The photo below shows one vineyard at the Opolo Property in Paso Robles with Scott Welcher holding one of his many FrightKites. After one season of extended testing, Scott made the following comment.

“Well, I am confident that we had damage as you have witnessed before putting up the falcons. After deployment, the damage appeared to cease as evidenced by the dried-up bird damage. In conclusion, I would say they were very effective! I then placed them in our Zinfandel vineyard to protect it before harvest; and once again, the results were a visible reduction in damage.”

Verasion is the time when birds become most interested in grapes, so the FrightKites only have to be installed and flown from the onset of verasion to harvest. With only 3-4 months usage per year, these kites have a lifespan of many, many years, and are easy to install, take down, and store.

Economics and Coverage

One FrightKite costs about $300 and will effectively protect approximately 1.25 acres. Two falcons will protect about 3 acres as the area between the two products when flying is regarded by birds as the “kill zone.” Typically, multiple units are installed about 150-200ft apart.

Let’s now look at gas cannons and netting as alternatives.

Bird Netting

Bird netting is the favored product for protection of grapes and fruit against bird strikes because it works. But without any doubt, it is expensive, it is hard to install, and if not done correctly, birds will get inside and continue to inflict damage. In the case of “drape over” netting birds can land on the net itself and still peck at the grapes causing damage.

Once installed, the canopy can continue to grow through the netting and this makes it very difficult to remove without damage and need for repair. If not handled gently, it will rip or tear when removed at the end of the season. Typically, 3-5 years is the average lifespan of the product.

There are without doubt many different types of nets available (mesh size, color, strength, and so on) and many different techniques of installation. However, not one is as easy or is as low cost as the FrightKite.

Costs widely vary when you account for the type of net, the installation method (drape netting, side netting, raised netting over the canopy); but, in overall terms when you include material cost, labor cost, machinery cost, and so on, costs can run $1000-$5000 or more per acre. Typically, with a six-man crew and a specialized tractor to run the netting, it will take one day to cover about 2 acres. This puts netting at well over three times the cost of the FrightKite and with very little added economic benefit.

Propane Gas Cannons

An average propane gas cannon with rotating head will provide around 17,000 blasts per 5-gallon tank and costs in the region of $250. More expensive models can run over $450. One cannon is advertised to protect between 1 and 5 acres; however, there are many drawbacks.

  1. Birds do become adapted to the noise and ignore its sound.
  2. Neighbors do not become de-sensitized to the noise and find it obtrusive and annoying. In 2017, the Napa Valley Register ran an article describing how several residents adjacent to the cannon had made written and personal complaints about the noise. Cannons can start at 6 AM and continue until 8 PM or later.
  3. Regular maintenance is required, not the least of which is the replacement of propane tanks at $18.50 per 5-gallon tank.

So, with quite limited effectiveness and so many drawbacks, the use of these products is taking a declining place in order of preference for bird exclusion.

Conclusions

The use of FrightKites is now emerging as an effective, low-cost alternative to netting and gas cannons, with results that more than justify their cost. We expect to see a lot more of these flying in vineyards in 2018 and the years ahead as silent protectors of grapes and fruits.

@2017 Frightkite is a registered trademark of Falcon Crop Protection.

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