Thoughts on Alternatives to Farming Deterrents

To: Cameron McNab <>
Subject: Thoughts on Alternatives to Farming Deterrents
From: Carl Clifford <>
Date: Tue, 26 Mar 2013 17:17:04 +1100
Hi Cameron,

A very difficult problem. One technique I have seen utilised fairly 
successfully, is the use of "sacrificial" plantings around the periphery of the 
crop. The "sacrificial" plantings were of non-crop species which were 
attractive to birds and which fruited at the same time as the crop. Not 100% 
effective, but as good as most other methods.

The only 100% effective method of protecting a fruit crop from birds, was at a 
blueberry property in New Zealand. The owners completely enclosed the crop with 
a chicken-wire cage. No mean feat with a 2Ha crop.


Carl Clifford

On 26/03/2013, at 12:55, Cameron McNab <> wrote:

> To Birders of Australia,
> I’m an engineering undergraduate trying to develop a 'best solution' for the 
> ongoing bird problem faced by many farmers and wine makers. I understand many 
> of you may have strong opinions on the pro's and cons of this topic; however 
> I’m hoping you might be a good source of options and ideas.
> Problem: Each year bird netting is put up in orchards and vineyards to 
> prevent birds damaging crops. Birds caught in or under netting can be 
> stressful if not fatal. Bird habituation (adapting to) is the main reason 
> non-physical deterrents fail, yet farmers loose crop without some form of 
> bird deterrent.
> Currently I’m looking for 'a better way' of adapting none-net based 
> deterrents to work effectively without injuring or trapping birds.
> I have investigated a number of current commercial products and ideas, the 
> technologies they use and their claims of success, however realistically 
> there is a reason farmers stick by nets (because nothing else is effective 
> long term). Currently we are looking into the use of mechatronic systems, 
> sensor nodes and more complex deterrent networks – however the basic 
> habituation problems still remains.
> I’d be interested in hearing any thoughts people may have about potential 
> ways of deterring birds from an area. I’m currently investigating options 
> such as disturbance through sound, so am looking into information on birds 
> and their hearing thresholds, however I am interested in any 
> information/opinions/ideas that people wants to provide on 'natural' 
> deterrents (besides predatory birds/falconry) or tackling habituation would 
> also be great.
> Thanks in advance (people can reply off forum in they prefer, 
> Cameron
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