Falcons Patrol Skies Over Blueberry Patch For Starlings.

Oregon producers finding bird-to-fight-bird idea works.

Published on: Oct 29, 2012
Dealing with hundreds of thousands of starlings that descend on a blueberry farm, the flock is effectively scared away using just one falcon flying over the vineyard, he says.

"We are capitalizing on a predator-prey relationship," Pollard adds.

Oregon blueberry producers in the midst of record production areas are constantly concerned with starling losses not only directly to the crop, but in the form of bird dropping that an contaminate berries with E.Coli or salmonella bacteria.

Some producers are banning together to contract for falcon services, since starlings driven from one farm might quickly take up residence at a neighboring property where the falcons aren't active.

For producers like Gingerich and Pond, the falcons have delivered their promise.

"With the falcons, it's a clean and easy way to go," says Pond, who grows blueberries near Jefferson, Ore. "It fits our sustainability program, too."

Gingerich, a Canby, Ore., blueberry farmer, his location in a heavily populated are made use of the falcons a choice that offered non-intrusive pest control. "If we use shotguns or cannons, they (neighbors) see that as intrusive," he explains.

The unique twist to his falcons to fight starlings, says Pollard, "is that this type of bird control method works immediately and can have an effective range of up to 1,000 acres."

For more on this story, see the cover story on the November issue of Western Farmer-Stockman.