There are around 2,031 vineyards in New Zealand and the export value of the wine is NZ$1,705 million. The high value of wine grapes forces wineries to keep an eye on bird damage and to ensure that crop loss is minimized.1
Why vineyards experience severe bird damage?
Bird damage to vineyards is a result of the temperate climate, meaning that the changes between winter and summer are not that extreme. This causes a two month long ripening season for grapes. Due to this, the wine grapes are more vulnerable to birds pecking at them.
The most common pest bird species that wineries can spot in New Zealand are blackbirds and silvereyes. These two species are challenging to control because they have different types of behaviors. Blackbirds have a tendency to eat the whole grape, while silvereyes only peck at the grapes.
There are different bird control methods that have been used throughout the years such as scarecrows and netting. However, most of them aren’t effective enough since birds get used to them quickly. The main concern is that birds become habituated to the traditional methods, such as netting.
Today more and more wine growers start using an innovative laser bird repellent device – Autonomic. The AVIX Autonomic decreases bird presence by up to 99%. How? By scaring them away: birds perceive the laser beam as a physical threat and flee. No harm to the birds and the environment.
Different Agricultural industries have a 99% reduction in birds on their properties. New Zealand Gourmet, premier grower of high-quality fruits and vegetables installed the Autonomic and achieved a 100% reduction in bird activity.
- Annual Report 2018 (Rep.). Retrieved from https://www.nzwine.com/en/news-media/statistics-reports/new-zealand-winegrowers-annual-report/
- Varmints in the Vineyard – Bird Damage to Grapes, (2005). Retrieved from https://livingheritage.lincoln.ac.nz/nodes/view/6502