Birds are pests in many vineyards. Their damage is restricted to fruit. Initiate monitoring for injury when grapes begin to ripen and change color. Early detection is essential for successful management of bird problems.|
As in rodent control, clean cultural practices may deter bird problems. Many birds - the house finch, sparrow, California quail, and dove - are attracted to vineyards by the available nest and loafing habitats in the form of weedy ditches, hedge rows, windbreaks, and brush or trash piles. Seed-eating birds, like the house finch, enter vineyards to feed on weed seeds and may later turn to ripening grapes.
Several factors must be considered before initiating control. (1) Species identification is critical. Most bird species are protected by state or federal laws and special permits are required to control them. In addition, different species require different management techniques. (2) If birds are drawn to the vineyard by the surrounding habitat, consider altering the habitat, but keep in mind that such altering may result in other kinds of pests and management problems. (3) Initiate a management program compatible with your agricultural practices. (4) Continue to monitor bird populations and, if necessary, alter the management program as conditions change. Using more than one technique is generally most effective.
Bird control materials are not as readily available as those for rodent control. Some are available from County Agricultural Commissioners. Assistance in locating control measures can be obtained from local county farm advisors, agricultural commissioners, and pest control advisors experienced in bird control.
For additional information about individual types of birds, please see under their individual names.