Many birds are agricultural pests and the challenge of driving them from crop fields and orchards is a significant problem. Across American agriculture the scale of losses to bird predation stretches well into billions of dollars annually.
Ravens and crows are notorious in California’s pistachio orchards for their appetite and intelligent mitigation of grower’s efforts to keep them away from the pistachios during the critical weeks nearing split and up through harvest. Certainly, orchard locations experience different levels of bird damage, some light enough to manage through occasional efforts using shotguns or other sounds, many heavy enough to ruin over ten, twenty, thirty percent or more of your precious yield, in some locations, much more.
Recent (pre-Hardshell) best practices call for deploying a variety of deterrents in changing locations around the orchard, coupled with physical presence among the trees by personnel armed with shotguns firing non-lead pellets (or blanks) to avoid water and soil contamination. Driving vehicles through the orchard is also helpful (briefly.) Depredation Permits are issued by U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service’s (Region 8: California and Nevada) through their Sacramento office.
Hardshell has met growers who through the application of very diligent observation and relentless efforts in the trees to guard against potentially catastrophic losses have control of their raven problem. Hardshell offers its service to California pistachio growers like you who want to get out of the staying-ahead-of-the-crows game, and instead bring Hardshell’s team into your trees for turn-key protection services that will return your investment and much more come harvest time.
• Remote egg oiling of problem bird species, including application of visual recognition systems and automation of aerial drones
• Techno-tortoise 3D printed models for research on, and aversive training of, tortoise-killing ravens
• A semi-autonomous rover for wildlife sign recognition and mapping, and for habitat and vegetation quality assessment
• A remotely fired laser for non-lethal bird hazing
• Tortoise habitat enhancement including passive systems for concentrating ambient rain water to spur the growth of native annuals in drought years
• Early stage research on invasive plant assessment and control