An interesting article written by Blake Gray appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle’s wine section today highlighting how Falcon’s are used to police vineyards before harvest. The enemy is the European Starling, numbering around 140 Million in the United States, whose favorite snack is ripe wine grapes around harvest time. Falconers can fetch $600 a day by bringing in a task force of efficient birds to guard the vineyards. Starlings avoid vineyards known to be patrolled by the Falcons, which can be easily distinguished from hawks by their pointed wings.
E. & J. Gallo Winery has used falcons to protect its grapes for several years, a company spokesman said.
(Chronicle photo by Chris Stewart)