There be dragons

In the Jan-Feb 2011 issue of Audubon, we find an article about California and Oregon vintners hiring falconers to get rid of grape-stealing starlings “faster than you can say ‘nonnative species run amok’.”   Conventional methods of starling control are firing loud propane cannons or spraying chemical repellents.   Falconer Tom Savory says that because a flock of flying starlings stretches and contracts like a Chinese dragon, the falconers call such a flock a “dragon.”  A falcon can drive a thousand-starling dragon away in less than a minute:  Dragon 0,  Falcon 1.    If this happens repeatedly the starlings become reluctant to visit the vineyard at all.   The falcons, the vintners and the environment all win.

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