Imagine that 3.21 pounds of fresh mangoes were consumed in the US per person in 2017. As well as, 2.71 pounds of peaches and 7.75 pounds of pineapples per person were consumed. In the same year, fresh fruit consumption amounted to 135.38 pounds1. These three fruits are some of the most popular in the world and severely affected by bird damage.
These numbers decrease due to bird problems.
Bird problems occur daily on fruit farms and the fruit industries are becoming frustrated with this issue. Birds act as carriers for diseases, they compete with native species for limited resources and are a severe agricultural pest that can have a large effect on the yield of a fruit farm. Birds can contaminate fruits through their roosting habits and terrible pecking behaviour.
The biggest mistake that fruit industries make is waiting until damage is evident before they try to find ways to prevent the bird problems. Once the birds are familiar with the crop and understand that it is a food source, it is more difficult for fruit growers to repel them. Once the fruit has matured it can have a large influence on the amount of damage to the fruit crops. This is why the time that the fruit matures is very important in dispersing birds and solving bird problems for fruit industries2.
Time of Maturation is very important!
Fruits that ripen when other foods are not available are the ones that birds target most.This allows fruit growers to figure out the right times to implement bird control methods.
Damage to fruit farms that are isolated from other farms is usually higher, because of the low abundance of fruits in the area. Fruit farms that are closer together have less damage because there is more fruit available.
What methods are used to prevent bird problems in the fruit industry?
The common methods to prevent bird problems on fruit farms consist of shooting and netting. Netting is expensive, time-consuming and does not prevent harm to birds. Shooting is often not an option if the fruit farm is close to residential areas and is harmful to the birds3.
There are more effective methods to deterring birds from fruit crops. One of the most environmentally friendly ways is a new innovative technology, an automated laser bird repellent. The laser can run from dusk till dawn, this is when the biggest bird problems occur. The laser has built-in safety features to prevent harming humans or wildlife.
This innovative technology has been used all around the world in vineyards and orchards to help solve the bird problems.
Fruit company Tack-De Cauwer in Belgium had tried ribbons, balloons and cannons to solve their bird problem. However, birds became habituated to these methods. After they began using the innovative technology, the Agrilaser Autonomic, they noticed within weeks the difference between the area with an Agrilaser Autonomic and the areas without one. At the end of the harvest, they had no crop loss to the area that the Agrilaser Autonomic was protecting.
- Satista, 2017, https://www.statista.com
- Managing bird damage in crops, 2013, https://onvegetables.files.wordpress.com/2013/06/managing-bird-damage-in-crops-factsheet-final.pdf
- Wildlife damage, 2007, https://www.aphis.usda.gov/wildlife_damage/nwrc/publications/07pubs/pitt072.pdf