>> enquiry about deer repellents, is anyone
>>aware of a solar-powered sonar repellent resource-poor farmers could
>>use to keep birds out of small (1 - 2 acre) fields of sunflower?
>>Or any other means?
>Here's a few thoughts...
>Low Tech (Harrying birds): An elderly man in Colorado, who had worked
>in ag around the world, suggested putting wren houses at each corner of
>my half acre blueberry patch. His theory was that the fiesty little
>wrens would drive off the big fruit eaters. I mounted the boxes, and
>never noticed fruit-eating birds for years. However, this season the
>fruit eaters started heavily working the patch. Too late I noticed two
>of the houses had blown down and there were no wrens in the other two.
>Rest assured the houses will be in tip-top shape next spring at nesting
Along the same lines, I work with a group of citrus/avocado growers who've
been looking for more biologically based methods of controlling other small
vertebrate pests. We've had the good fortune to get to know the folks at
our local Raptor Rehabilitation and Release program. They've helped us
find ways to make our groves more inviting to raptors, who do a grand job
of reducing the small vertebrate pest population.
For nocternal pests, providing nest boxes for barn owls makes a great
difference. But am I correct in guessing that your doves and finches are
more active in daylight hours? In that case, providing high perches for
hawks and falcons in open areas with good visibility may serve you better.
(They hunt by sight). Just their presence is often an effective deterent.
Perches can be built of course, but a favorite trick of mine is to fine the
most agile monkey on the farm (thus the job often falls to me) to climb the
tallest tree around, taking care to girdle just the uppermost branch where
it joins the tree, providing precisely the sort of dead snag most such
birds of prey seek out, and for the right price. (But *be careful*, of
yourself and the tree.)
Failing this, I'd look into the natural life cycle of doves and finches to
find their natural predators (or whatever they normally succumb to) and
find a way to encourage that. (Look for whatever is the limiting factor
for the predator now -water? food? roost or nest sites?- and supply that
If you try any of this, I'd like to hear how it works out for you.
All the best,
Beth von Gunten
Community Alliance with Family Farmers
Ojai, CA 93024