West Coast growers need to improve their efforts in protecting fruit trees from birds; as research has shown, they can lose 37% of their revenue if they do not take effective bird control measures.
Bird damage causes significant economic losses, with damages ranging from $17 to $194 per acre, depending on the state and the crop.
This white paper aims to present effective strategies for fruit tree protection and explore the potential of cutting-edge laser bird control technology for West Coast growers.To determine the best approach for addressing bird damage, it is critical to examine both the nature of the damage and the specific bird species responsible for it.
Bird species that cause damage to fruits
Birds such as European starlings, cedar waxwings, and robins cause the most crop losses for growers. So let’s dive into the differences between these species to understand how to repel them properly:
European Starling: the European starling strongly prefers ripe fruit and can cause significant damage to a crop quickly.
Cedar Waxwing: cedar waxwings are social birds that travel in flocks and can quickly strip a tree of its fruit. They are attracted to fruit close to maturity, and their feeding habits can cause severe damage to the fruit.
Robins: robins have a particular preference for ripe, red fruit and are known to consume a significant amount of fruit in a short period of time.
All these species can cause significant damage very quickly, so growers need to implement preventive bird control solutions two to three months before harvest to ensure maximum crop protection.
Types of bird damage
Bird damage to fruits can take different forms depending on the bird species and the fruit’s maturity stage. However, the most common types of bird damage are:
Pecking: birds may peck the fruit to test for ripeness or to break the skin and access the flesh. Pecking causes damage to the fruit and makes it more susceptible to decay.
Feeding: birds love a nice fruit buffet and can consume significant quantities of fruit, causing direct crop losses.
Breaking: Birds may break branches or twigs as they land on the tree, causing damage to the fruit and tree structure. Hence, effective fruit protection is crucial to secure the current and future harvest.
To prevent any damage, growers need to implement a bird control solution to keep the whole area free from birds that they do not get used to.
Traditional solutions to bird damage
Bird Netting: Netting is an effective method of protecting fruit from bird damage. The nets should be placed over the tree canopy and secured at the base to prevent birds from entering the tree. This solution can be costly for extensive agricultural areas as it needs to be installed and removed every year, which is a labor-intensive activity.
Scare Tactics: Visual and auditory scare tactics, such as decoys or loud noises, can effectively deter birds from eating fruits. However, these methods are temporary and may lose effectiveness over time because they become predictable. Birds are very smart creatures, and they soon realize that they are not in real danger.
Habitat Modification: Modifying the habitat around the orchard can also effectively reduce bird damage. This can include planting alternate bird food sources or creating nesting boxes away from the orchard. However, this is often not enough to deter pesky birds from causing damage.
Next-generation laser bird control for effective fruit tree protection
Traditional solutions like netting, scare tactics, and habitat modification can be expensive, labor-intensive, or ineffective. That’s why next-generation laser bird control, which uses green lasers to scare birds away by simulating a predator’s approach, is becoming a popular alternative.
Birds perceive green laser frequencies as physical objects and flee immediately when the beam approaches them. This method is highly effective with social birds that travel in flocks, like the Cedar Waxwing, because as soon as one bird flees, the other birds tend to follow.
The AVIX Autonomic Mark II is the most innovative laser bird dispersal system on the market. Growers can easily program the system to project the green laser light over the fruit trees, pushing birds away without disrupting day-to-day operations. The AVIX Autonomic operates automatically once installed and has 16 different projecting patterns, so birds never get accustomed to laser movements.
This solution is particularly indicated for broad agricultural areas, as one system can cover up to 20 acres, depending on the farm terrain. Furthermore, after being exposed to the laser multiple times, birds consider the area unsafe and do not return, making it highly effective.
Many fruit growers on the West Coast adopted this solution and effectively protected their crops and revenue.
A blueberry grower in Oregon increased revenue with the AVIX Autonomic laser.
Meduri Farms is a producer in Oregon that experienced significant losses due to bird damage to blueberries. The farm used falconry to keep the birds away, but it was costly and not consistently effective.
The bird damage to the blueberries had three negative impacts:
- Birds made the blueberries fall off the bush;
- Birds ate the blueberries;
- Birds shook the bushes, causing more blueberries to fall.
The farm was losing $100,000 annually due to bird damage. So Justin Meduri, the Farm Operations Manager, decided to try out an innovative laser bird deterrent system from Bird Control Group called AVIX Autonomic.
After using Autonomic, their losses have reduced by 99.73% and their revenue has increased by 33%.
A California grape grower eliminated bird damage with the AVIX Autonomic
A California-based table grape farm in Bakersfield struggled with bird infestations despite having bird netting installed on their farm. The birds still managed to damage the crops, causing great concern for the farm owners.
So they decided to purchase the AVIX Autonomic Bird Deterrent from Cypress Agritech, the trusted California distributor of the laser that successfully installed and programmed the system.
The system delivered exceptional results for the grower, saving them money and eliminating bird damage to the grapes.
Watch the whole user experience.