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Press Release: Vigilance takes off in WA

This year John Giumelli’s Pink Lady apples produced a yield that was 200 bins short of expectations, though it could have been worse. Baudin’s or white tailed black cockatoos, are becoming a serious problem in the Perth Hills with heavy penalties imposed on those killing them, or even shooting to scare without a permit

After last years successful trial of the BirdDeter system in Manjimup, Perth Hills grower Mark Wilkinson thought he would give the system a go in his plum orchard. Although Baudins cockatoos were not an issue in this orchard, parrots,28 and Red cap and currawong’s were. These would predictably destroy 20 to 30 % of the late season “Autumn Giant” plums when the Marri trees stopped flowering and the fruit was within 2-3 weeks of harvest. After saving six to nine tonnes of plums, the unit was relocated to John Giumelli’s orchard “Bird Central”. By the time Mark arrived with the BirdDeter system, heavy losses had already occurred. The birds had become addicted to the fruit and if the losses were to continue till harvest, jobs would have to go.

The BirdDeter system is based on a Bird Detection system , which in turn activates deterrents in the crop. The Bird Detection system is also used to record and graph bird activity. Below is a graph of what transpired after the BirdDeter system was installed Giumelli orchard.

On the first day and a half, most birds left the orchard. Hunger pains soon set in and the birds returned, this time with much greater determination. After a further three days of distress calls, gas guns , pop up men and hawks responding to their attempts at entering the crop, they gave up. This is a repeatable result, with other growers such as the Forest Products Commission in Manjimup into their fourth year of successful Black Cockatoo control, protecting pine cones over a 6 month period.

Related page: The BirdDeter system
Related page: Orchard Protection
Related page: Pine Protection
Related page: Bird Data