Bird perches "attract species to deter vineyard grape eaters"

Reducing crop damage in vineyards from fruit-eating birds can be as simple as providing perches for predator birds, according to new research from Australia.

Image: Shawn McCready (CC BY-ND 2.0)
Image: Shawn McCready (CC BY-ND 2.0)

The researchers from Sydney's Charles Sturt University monitored 12 artificial perches in six vineyards for four months, comparing bird damage to grapes at these sites with control sites lacking perches.

While raptors did not use the artificial perches, the "large and aggressive" Australian magpie did so frequently, and grapevines around these perches suffered less than half the damage seen at the controls.

"Providing artificial perches in vineyards can play a role in reducing frugivore damage to grapes," they conclude. "However, the effectiveness of perches can vary under different environmental conditions and certain perch types are not suitable for all predatory or aggressive birds."

The results are published in the Australian journal Wildlife Research.

The team is now loooking at how to attract in raptors such as falcons, using more natural-looking tree branches, to enhance the effect.


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