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Crows in Cherries (Netting vs. BirdDeter)

In the past Netting has been the preferred option for bird control. However with weather becoming more extreme, the lifetime of nets has been reduced and insurance premiums increased. The complexity of a netting installation also means that it can fall prey to poor installation.

The photo below shows how the cabling in a netting structure has worn away through the nets by the action of the wind. The cherry orchard is now completely exposed to the birds. In addition the net cable throughout the orchard, now acts as a vantage point from which bird’s can pick their mark and launch their attack.

To solve the problem “The Cherry Farm” in the Adelaide hills installed a BirdDeter system from Vigilance Technologies. The main bird pests were crows, lorikeets, starlings and wattle-birds. The radar although having a 600-meter range was only required across a 300-m section of the crop, in which the netting had completely failed. The bird pressure in this part of the crop was sufficiently greater than the rest of the crop, that it could be used as a trigger for all the deterrents throughout the orchard.

Deterrents located across the 25 acres of cherries included, speaker units replaying distress and harassment calls, inflatable men and gas cannons. All deterrents were activated by radio control, in response to birds flying through the radar. Inflatable men and gas cannons were deployed mainly in the wattle-bird and lorikeet areas, as it has been found that these pests respond well to multiple deterrents.

Any deterrent system will clear an area of birds initially. The true test comes toward the end of the season. Do birds become conditioned to ignore deterrents through over exposure or are they trained to stay away? If increased yields and bird observation are not sufficient to go by, the BirdDeter system also records bird activity and allows graphical analysis of the results.

Related page: What bird is eating my crop?