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FALCON CROP PROTECTION

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Address

PO Box 2130
Healdsburg
CA, 95448
United States
Phone
415-789-5007
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Primary
Penny Davies

GOT BIRD PROBLEMS?

Are Pest Birds Eating Your Grapes, Crops, and Seeds?

The Falcon FrightKite by Falcon Crop Protection is the safe, easy, cost-effective way to chase away pest birds and reduce damage to your crops.

FrightKites are easy to install, and pay for themselves in the first season in saved seeds, fruit, and crops. From the moment it takes flight, birds for acres around will flee in fear. With Falcon Kites, you’ll lose virtually none of your crops to hungry birds!

Check with your neighbors to see if they’re using Falcon Crop Protection and see how happy they are with our scare kites. With 95%-100% proven effectiveness, we’ll get birds out of the picture for you, too!

 

 

Are Birds Causing Problems in Your Winery Crush Pad?

Hot Foot Bird Repellents provides a variety of safe, effective, and environmentally friendly methods to get rid of pest birds, and keep them away for good. From easy do-it-yourself options like repellent gel and Hot Foot Bird Spikes to exclusion netting for crush pads, warehouses, tasting rooms and other areas.  Hot Foot America is one of the most reliable and effective suppliers in the United States and has been in business since 1977.

 

Plus, we help you at every step. During a free phone consultation, we can help you decide what bird deterrents will work best for your situation, help you plan and calculate your materials, and give you advice and tips about installing your deterrents. If needed, we can also help you find professional installers in your area who will make sure it's done right.

Light, Durable, and Easy to Fly

This is not your kid’s kite! This unique product is made from durable materials including carbon-fiber rods, extra-strong flying line, and rip-stop material. That makes them lightweight and durable so that they can fly for hours a day, every day, in up to 25 mph of wind.

  • Light, compact, and portable so you can easily move them from field to field
  • Easy to assemble
  • Self-launching – only needs 1-2mph of wind
  • One Falcon will scare off birds for acres around!

Works on Birds’ Own Natural Fears The FrightKite is a bird’s worst nightmare. It’s specific design makes it dive, swoop, and dart in realistic attack modes. It even hovers with the wings slightly flapping.

The FrightKites:

  • Is much cheaper and less labor-intensive to install than nets
  • Is silent – no noisy (and useless) squawks to bother you or neighbors
  • Does not harm the birds in any way
  • Works on the birds’ natural fears of predators
  • Is self-launching so you can set it and walk away

 

For More information - Check out our Brochure Here

Safe, Easy, and Cost-effective Way to Repel Birds from Your Vineyards

Sitting with friends in Healdsburg in 2015, Roger Snow had an epiphany. Birds were all over the area, when suddenly two red-tailed hawks flew over. Birds darted away, heading for safety. The seed was sown and an idea bloomed.

Flying over vineyards in several states already, this pest-bird repellent has only been in production for two years. A combination of a box kite with a v-shaped lift, the Falcon FrightKite is made of a proprietary material that is highly resistant to tearing and UV light. “We did several trials in Dry Creek Valley (Sonoma County, CA) and in Paso (Paso Robles, CA). It needed to have the ability to dive and be maneuverable,” recounts Snow.

Launching in winds from 2-25mph, FrightKite is quickly airborne, often attracting other birds of prey that appear interested in the hunting ground the kite is circling, adding to the scare-away tactic.

As crop protection, this product is meant to be used for 3-5 months, through veraison until harvest, when birds delight in eating the almost-ready grapes. In vineyards, the falcon-shaped kites work best on sparrows, finches and starlings, which, if unchecked, can descend and quickly decimate a crop of grapes. Though not vineyard pests, pigeons and seagulls are also deterred by FrightKite, with locations such as Sonoma Raceway and the Oakland A’s Coliseum venue.

In vineyards, with FrightKite in the air and on duty one Falcon will cover 1.25 acres and two Falcons 3 acres. “The flock birds see the kites from a long way off, and change direction. We are changing their behavioral patterns with this deterrent,” says Snow.

Testimonials from current users place the reduction in damage at 95%. Compared to a laser which can cost up to $10,000, FrightKite provides an excellent and inexpensive return on investment. Conventional netting methods are labor-intensive, and unless done precisely, birds often become trapped inside.

When requesting FrightKite, a questionnaire is used to assess the type of bird pests plaguing your vineyard, the space being effected, and surroundings such as trees and electric lines are all considered. Models come with poles at 20ft (aluminum),22,28,31 and 42ft (aluminum), with flight line creating flying heights of up to 70 feet high.

Says Snow, “Our first full year of sales was over 2016-2017, and we sold 400 kites, many to repeat buyers increasing their coverage over previously untended vineyards.” An inexpensive way to save your crops, Falcon FrightKite may be just the thing to keep your vineyard damage to a minimum.

Check out our video and testimonials at www.falconcropprotection.com.For questions or to see if Falcon FrightKite is right for you, contact us today!

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News Archive


Eco-Friendly Bird Repellents for Wineries
22 June, 2018

Wineries exist in every state in this Union, as do birds. Birds carry diseases and parasites, and no one wants that any of that dropping into their premium wines during fermentation. The solution is clear: exclude the birds and keep them from returning.

 The concept of Hot Foot America’s Knotless InvisiNet bird netting and complementary repellents is simple, yet brilliant, and takes advantage of a bird’s natural patterns. The virtually invisible netting excludes avian pests by preventing them from nesting. The Hot Foot Spikes create inhospitable landing areas even in curved or tight spaces, and the Hot Foot Gel creates a surface that birds don’t like and won’t return to, all without harming a feather!

Their installation process starts with an assessment of the type of birds that are making your winery their home, and which locations they are frequenting. A personalized plan is then created to meet your winery’s needs, and may include one, two or all three of the repellents, depending on the spaces that are being affected. A thorough cleaning, followed by the application of an EPA registered sanitizer precedes the placement of the netting. Inspection outlets are also created to allow access for the changing of overhead lights, etc. There is no recommended maintenance, as the netting is guaranteed for ten years, with the additional labor guarantee that no bird will penetrate the netting for two years.

The originally conceived Hot Foot bird netting was created back in the late 70’s by a company founded in the UK who had a long history of making high quality fishing nets. A new generation of netting was then developed in 1990, which is resistant to abrasion, has a fire retardant, and is sag resistant for the life of the net.

What then keeps the birds away? Using flock mentality, each deterrent offers a possibility for birds to change their pattern. Once changed, it is unlikely for them to return.

Working around the country, Hotfoot has installations under way in Virginia, Texas, California, Washington and Oregon, with crews able to head to every part of the US where wineries are located. With the ability to cover 120 square feet or 300,000 square feet, their largest installation, Hot Foot is the right choice for wineries of all sizes, and for whatever any other spaces that are subject to unwanted bird droppings.

With forty years of success behind them, Hot Foot InvisiNet, Gel and Spikes can help you with an individually tailored bird repellent solution for your winery!

Contact Roger Snow for more information, or go to our website at www.hotfoot.com

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Bird Repellent Alternatives to Gas Cannons and Netting
24 April, 2018

Over recent years, the emergence of falcon replica kites has issued a challenge to more established opinions on how to scare birds away from vineyards. One fact that has not changed is that bird damage to grapes incurs a significant cost that justifies reducing to the economic minimum. With grapes at $4000 a ton and losses in the range of 10-80%, the cost of bird damage is very significant indeed.

Widespread use of flash tape, plastic owls attached to poles, sound devices, and other “hopefuls” have all but fallen by the wayside as being ineffective but not cheap. Although still prevalent in many vineyards, these bird repellents are more like window dressings than effective solutions. Vineyard managers are essentially left with propane gas cannons and netting the only effective means of minimizing crop losses due to bird damage. Or does it?

Many owners and managers have tried with great success the relatively new falcon replica “FrightKites.” Made from weather, wind, and sun resistant fabric, these kites replicate the size, shape, color, and airborne random movements of a real falcon. Falcons are one of the most widely feared predators of birds in the wild. Flying from a telescoping pole, these kites can reach a height of 70ft in the air, so they are visible from birds in flight approaching vineyards. A mere 2 mph wind will cause these kites to rise in the air and be seen hovering just over the vineyard canopy. As the wind increases, so does the acrobatics of the kite, and the movements are totally random to minimize birds getting “accustomed” to its presence.

The primary objective is to get the kite airborne so approaching birds see it and recognize it from sufficient distance away to cause them to change direction and avoid the pace in which it is flying. If you were a bird approaching a vineyard and saw what appears to be one or more hunting falcons, would you keep going to land directly under its eye or would you merely veer away and feed at another adjacent but unprotected vineyard?

Do they really work?

Yes! Vineyard owners and managers are seeing and reporting results of over 95% elimination of bird damage to grapes.

Sales of 10 or more FrightKites per customer are not uncommon, and usage is now growing to include protection of fruit trees, home gardens, nuts, vegetables, and other commodities.

The left photo below shows Dan Barwick from Paradise Ridge in 2017, inspecting grapes that were fully exposed and protected only by the FrightKite. The prior year, he had used netting. The lower right photo shows the typical fruit damage in an unprotected vineyard of Pinot grapes.

After a test period of only 3-4 weeks, Dan purchased six more Falcon FrightKites and employed no netting at all.

The photo below shows one vineyard at the Opolo Property in Paso Robles with Scott Welcher holding one of his many FrightKites. After one season of extended testing, Scott made the following comment.

“Well, I am confident that we had damage as you have witnessed before putting up the falcons. After deployment, the damage appeared to cease as evidenced by the dried-up bird damage. In conclusion, I would say they were very effective! I then placed them in our Zinfandel vineyard to protect it before harvest; and once again, the results were a visible reduction in damage.”

Verasion is the time when birds become most interested in grapes, so the FrightKites only have to be installed and flown from the onset of verasion to harvest. With only 3-4 months usage per year, these kites have a lifespan of many, many years, and are easy to install, take down, and store.

Economics and Coverage

One FrightKite costs about $300 and will effectively protect approximately 1.25 acres. Two falcons will protect about 3 acres as the area between the two products when flying is regarded by birds as the “kill zone.” Typically, multiple units are installed about 150-200ft apart.

Let’s now look at gas cannons and netting as alternatives.

Bird Netting

Bird netting is the favored product for protection of grapes and fruit against bird strikes because it works. But without any doubt, it is expensive, it is hard to install, and if not done correctly, birds will get inside and continue to inflict damage. In the case of “drape over” netting birds can land on the net itself and still peck at the grapes causing damage.

Once installed, the canopy can continue to grow through the netting and this makes it very difficult to remove without damage and need for repair. If not handled gently, it will rip or tear when removed at the end of the season. Typically, 3-5 years is the average lifespan of the product.

There are without doubt many different types of nets available (mesh size, color, strength, and so on) and many different techniques of installation. However, not one is as easy or is as low cost as the FrightKite.

Costs widely vary when you account for the type of net, the installation method (drape netting, side netting, raised netting over the canopy); but, in overall terms when you include material cost, labor cost, machinery cost, and so on, costs can run $1000-$5000 or more per acre. Typically, with a six-man crew and a specialized tractor to run the netting, it will take one day to cover about 2 acres. This puts netting at well over three times the cost of the FrightKite and with very little added economic benefit.

Propane Gas Cannons

An average propane gas cannon with rotating head will provide around 17,000 blasts per 5-gallon tank and costs in the region of $250. More expensive models can run over $450. One cannon is advertised to protect between 1 and 5 acres; however, there are many drawbacks.

  1. Birds do become adapted to the noise and ignore its sound.
  2. Neighbors do not become de-sensitized to the noise and find it obtrusive and annoying. In 2017, the Napa Valley Register ran an article describing how several residents adjacent to the cannon had made written and personal complaints about the noise. Cannons can start at 6 AM and continue until 8 PM or later.
  3. Regular maintenance is required, not the least of which is the replacement of propane tanks at $18.50 per 5-gallon tank.

So, with quite limited effectiveness and so many drawbacks, the use of these products is taking a declining place in order of preference for bird exclusion.

Conclusions

 

The use of FrightKites is now emerging as an effective, low-cost alternative to netting and gas cannons, with results that more than justify their cost. We expect to see a lot more of these flying in vineyards in 2018 and the years ahead as silent protectors of grapes and fruits.


5 Problems With Using Bird Netting to Protect Plants
28 February, 2018

There’s nothing like the taste of your own home-grown fruit and vegetables. Or perhaps you’re a vineyard-owner, cultivating all those wonderful grapes for your much-loved wine!

The problem many growers run into, though, is that birds often eat a lot of the unpicked fruit before humans get a chance to harvest it. Sometimes, they can almost clear a whole crop!

Until recently, bird netting was one of the few options available to protect certain plants like grapes and cherries. But there are some concerns over this method. Keep reading for 5 problems with using netting to protect your produce.

1. High Cost

At around $6.50 per square foot, netting is a very costly choice. That small figure might not sound like very much, but when you consider the amount you’d need to cover the average fruit tree, the costs start adding up.

A medium-wide-boughed, 10ft fruit tree would need at least a 38ft x 38ft section of netting, and the cost suddenly shoots up to almost $250. Now multiply that by several trees, and the figure’s pretty eye-watering.

2. Often Not Reusable

Bird netting is often sold as being reusable, so you should be able to cover your trees effectively, each season.

However, depending on the quality of your netting, the fabric can become dry and brittle. This can cause it to break, or be difficult to re-drape.

3. Can Damage Plants

The small holes in the netting are what keeps the birds out. Unfortunately, though, it can also damage the very plants it’s used to protect.

Bird netting will often sever leaves and break off fruit when there’s a heavy wind. This can impact on your harvest and, if you’re a commercial grower, it can affect your profits, too.

4. Can Trap and Injure Birds

Sadly, poorly-installed netting allows birds to enter it, and then traps them inside.

Smaller birds, like tiny sparrows and baby birds, can get tangled up in the mesh itself, causing damage to their beaks and other extremities.

Birds can also get their legs and feet entangled, so they’re trapped and unable to safely fly away.

5. Can Put You at Risk

It’s not just birds that get caught up in netting. In fact, many owners have reported finding snakes and other wildlife within their mesh-covered plants.

Of course, the danger to cultivators is great, and freeing a frightened trapped snake is a risky endeavor.

Rabbits, lizards, and squirrels, for example, have been found both dead and alive. And dead animals attract other pests, who can also become trapped inside.

The Verdict on Bird Netting

Protecting your crops from those pesky birds can be hard work. A lot of people have been forced to use bird netting as a deterrent, simply because there haven’t been many alternatives.

Unfortunately, this common material has a few major failings. You should definitely factor these into your decision when it comes to caring for your plants.

But did you know there’s a cheaper, safer and highly effective solution that can work for you? Click here to learn how the Falcon FrightKite can help you.


Vineyard Scare Tactics Brought to You by "Falcon McFalconface"
08 August, 2017

Talk about having fun with your work...We installed a Falcon Crop Protection FrightKite last week over the Oakland Coliseum and not only has it driven away any pesky birds, but having proved it's team loyalty, A's fans have decided to name their new star "player".

Can you take a wild guess what the winner moniker was? Falcon McFalconface by popular demand!

 


bird abatement kite becomes famous A's mascot
17 July, 2017

When a surge of seagulls led to a foul time for Oakland Athletics fans, a new winged hero stepped up to the plate.

"Earlier in the season, I actually got pooped on by a bird,"... READ FULL ARTICLE HERE 


Vineyard Scare tactics brought to you by "Falcon McFalconface"
14 June, 2017

Talk about having fun with your work...We installed a Falcon Crop Protection FrightKite last week over the Oakland Coliseum and not only has it driven away any pesky birds, but having proved it's team loyalty, A's fans have decided to name their new star "player".

Can you take a wild guess what the winner moniker was? Falcon McFalconface by popular demand!

 


Innovative Technique Uses Kites to Repel Unwanted Birds from Vineyards
30 May, 2017

The practice of controlling nuisance birds in vineyards or other open spaces where they can wreak havoc to business is nothing new. In fact, companies have been attempting to address the problem for decades with repellants like gas cannons, reflective tape, crop netting and other means.

But just last year, an innovative concept emerged from a company called Falcon Crop Protection. Designers came up with the idea to use bird’s natural fear of predators to steer them away from valuable vineyards with a kite that mimics the appearance and movements of a peregrine falcon.

Known as FrightKites, the devices are made with a durable material designed in the shape of a predator bird that self-launches and flies at the end of a pole on an extension line that can lift the kite up to 65 feet high.

The kite has the outline, coloring, wings, tail and eyes that look frighteningly life-like to a small bird. Its profile arches in strong winds, which make it appear to be hunting, and its wingtips flutter at the end like a real falcon. Best of all, the innovative FrightKite design allows the device to hover, climb, glide and dive just as a predator does when it’s on the attack.

 

According to Roger, the President of Falcon Crop Protection, FrightKite efficacy has been nothing short of amazing right from the start.

“We were in Napa (testing the kites) at 65 feet and we saw a flock of finches,” Roger recalls. “They took a hard right turn and disappeared. We said to each other, ‘Did you see that?’ We had no idea it would be so good.”

It’s so good, in fact, test site vineyards from Paso Robles through Healdsburg have reported a 95 to 100 percent repulsion rate of birds – and most are ordering multiple kites to continue to protect their crop investments. Each FrightKite can safeguard up to 1.5 acres. Two kites will more than double the effect.

“The great thing about FrightKites is that there are no ill effects on the environment, no harm done to the birds,” Roger points out. “It’s vastly more cost-effective and less labor intensive than our nearest competitor’s netting option.”

Roger emphasizes that FrightKites can be used throughout numerous harvests as they are only flown four to five months out of the year. He notes that the versatility of the kites is such that they can be moved from site to site within vineyards to accommodate the different rates of veraison for multiple varietals.

Roger also reports that the applicability of FrightKites goes beyond vineyard protection. A customer on Angel Island contacted him recently about a persistent problem with aggressive seagulls at an airport hangar. Roger offered him a FrightKite for a two-week test trial.

“Before I got back to my office, he rang me,” Roger laughs. “Apparently, as soon as it went vertical, the gulls went squawking and disappeared.”

For more FrightKite information and orders, go to: www.falconcropprotection.com.

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Controlling Birds in the Vineyards with Kites?
01 November, 2016

Loss of valuable grapes to Growers and Vineyards is an annual problem and until now there have been very limited options for control. The most common is to tie “flash tape” to wire strings in the hope that the hologram type of reflections will scare birds away. However results from this repellent are very poor to minimal.

Above shows a Peregrine Falcon replica in full flight. Although strictly defined as a “kite” that is about where the similarity begins and ends. Note in the above photo how the wind creates creases on the wings to imitate feathers and note also the legs and feet folded as happens in flight with real birds.

The shape of the wings are an almost perfect replica of the real bird and even the ends of the wings have feathers.

It takes only a 2MPH wind for the kite to start to rise and it is held off the ground by using a unique extending pole that is either fiberglass or aluminum. The glass rod extends nearly 23ft and the flight line is another 15ft giving it a maximum height of flight of 38ft.

The extending aluminum pole is 40ft high and the flight line can be increased to 35ft to give a maximum flight height of 75ft.

In windy conditions the predator moves in many different directions; it goes up, down, sideways, swoops and dives then goes back up etc so there is no regularity as would be the case with a true predator bird.

The photos below show a test site where a flock of about 60 pigeons were roosting on a building on the waterfront. The roof was cleaned and sanitized then the “Predator” was flown off a 40ft pole. The effect on the flock was instantaneous. Enlarge the right photo by clicking on it and dragging the handles to see the predator in flight.

 

We are seeing promise with the falcon in terms of bird control and are continuing to test the range in which the kite is effective. Additional kites may be needed for larger areas.

 

GOT BIRD PROBLEMS? 

We Carry BARRIERS, CONTROLS, REPELLENTS, NETTING, BIRD SCARERS, PREDATOR KITES, SPIKES, BIRD GEL & MORE

Hot Foot Bird Repellents provides a variety of safe, effective, and environmentally friendly methods to get rid of pest birds, and keep them away for good. From easy do-it-yourself options like repellent gel and Hot Foot Bird Spikes to exclusion netting for crush pads, warehouses, tasting rooms and other areas.  Hot Foot America is one of the most reliable and effective suppliers in the United States and has been in business since 1977.

Expansive range of repellents for pest birds. Netting for structures like crush pads, spikes and repellent gel for tasting rooms or well defined areas where you do not want birds to sit, electric shock powered by battery energizers and solar re-charges, predator kites and helium balloons for wide space controlof birds like starlings.

 

Visit our website or Click here to view the catalog

 

 

 

Full Flight Falcon Replica
Full Flight Falcon Replica
There is just one Falcon patrolling the skies above the Sonoma Raceway. Its job is to keep birds out of the vineyard and away from the carpark so they don't leave "their mark" on parked vehicles. Click photo for larger view
 
 
 
Easily Seen in the sky
Easily Seen in the sky
The Falcon replica is easily seen in the sky by approaching birds and their natural instinct is to avoid the danger that lies directly ahead. Click photo for larger view
 
 
 
TWO FALCONS PATROL THIS VINEYARD
TWO FALCONS PATROL THIS VINEYARD
This vineyard in Paso Robles actually had 5 Falcon Replicas installed by the end of 2016 protecting Pinot and Cabernet Grapes. You have to look hard to see the first one way off in the distance at the top of the hill
 
 
 
FALCON SOARING TO 55FT
FALCON SOARING TO 55FT
This 5 acre vineyard chose one Falcon on a 42ft pole to protect against birds approaching from the tree line of the property. A second Falcon was installed on a vine support and a 22ft pole
 
 
 
WINGS ACTUALLY MOVE IN THE WIND
WINGS ACTUALLY MOVE IN THE WIND
As the wind increases in strength the carbon fibre spars actually flex to give the wings a beating motion. The color of the replica is designed to appear realistic and the striations in the wings are seen as feathers to approaching birds.
 
 
 

 

MOBILE MOUNTING, EASILY MOVED BETWEEN VINEYARDS
MOBILE MOUNTING, EASILY MOVED BETWEEN VINEYARDS
The smaller 22ft fiberglass pole enables the Falcon Replica to be moved easily from row to row or vineyard to vineyard as different varietals mature. This photo shows the pole inside an ordinary umbrella base with some rocks for added stability in strong winds