The Moxee Dirt Diaries
August 17, 2012
During the months Roy Farms fruit begins to ripen, Vahe' Alaverdian, owner of Falcon Force LLC. Professional Bird Abatement Services (www.FalconForce.com) is hired to fly his raptors throughout our fruit crops and deter the nuisance birds from wanting to feed on the fruit (for example, starlings & sparrows). Falcon Force uses natural predator/prey relationship to discourage birds from feeding on fruit by instilling fear that they may be attacked by a much more powerful bird. This is much more effective than the screamers, booms, cannons and streamer flags used by many orchards and vineyards. Each raptor flies 2-6 times per day and Vahe' uses a lure made of a tennis ball, a pigeon wing, and a length of cord that allows him to make the lure fly fast enough to be hunted by a Peregrine!
The 2 year old male peregrine falcon, Shaman, who he is flying in this picture is equipped with a radio telemetry tracking device on his back.
July 13, 2012
It's cherry season and the nemesis of cherry growers this time of year is RAIN... Excessive rainfall can cause splitting in our mature cherries, as the ripe cherries absorb more water than their skins can stretch. In our attempt to protect our fruit, we hire helicopter pilots to be on standby. They can be in the air within minutes after a rain event and hover 10' over the trees to dry off the fruit. We also send in our army of ground sprayers to help with the drying process. Depending on the amount and duration of the rain event, we usually don't harvest that day. Rain is usually welcomed here in Eastern Washington, but can be the "pits" for us cherry growers, if it comes at the wrong time. Again we are at the whim of Mother Nature...