2013 Harvest Party Highlight #2: Tom Savory and His Falcons

As the grapes begin to change color and go through their veraison, it becomes necessary to defend them from birds, mainly the starling, who finds the grapes too good to resist.

On the Parrish Family Vineyard we use our falconer, Tom Savory, and his team of falcons to scare away these pesky fruit bandits. Reaching a velocity of up to 200 miles per hour, the peregrine falcon attacks the groups of birds, known as a dragon because the flight pattern of the starlings resembles a Chinese dragon, and disperses them. In only a couple of weeks, the majority of birds will take the hint and leave the area for the rest of the season, giving the grapes enough time and room to finish their ripening.

Tom Savory

Pictured: Tom Savory / Photo by: Cecily Ray

Even after the falcon has left, the birds will not return because they sense of the falcons’ presence is still there. This natural predator-prey relationship is ideal for protecting our grapes.

This method of pest control is economically and environmentally efficient as opposed to some other methods used in fending off birds. Birds tend to get used to scarecrows and shiny reflective tape that is used on many vineyards in our area. The use of netting is expensive and labor intensive, although it can be effective. Tom Savory started his business when a vineyard was looking for an alternative to using shot guns to shoot down starlings.

You can witness our falcons in person at our upcoming 3rd Annual Parrish Family Vineyard Harvest Party on October 12! Weather permitting; our falconer will demonstrate the awe-inspiring speed and agility of these wonderful birds.

You can make reservations for the harvest party by calling the Tasting Room at 805-286-4028 or emailing us at events@parrishfamilyvineyard.com. Wine club members save 20%.

-Aleksandr Hewitt-
Parrish Family Vineyard Tasting Room Host

Check Out More Photos From the Previous Parties:

Harvest Party 2011

Harvest Party 2011 (2)

Harvest Party 2011 (3)

Harvest Party 2012

Harvest Party 2012 (2)


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