Dragons eat other birds

Freital. When the boss of Gut Pesterwitz was at a Christmas tree fair a few months ago, he saw the rescue fly there. Kites were presented - children's toys on a string, the autumn classic, so to speak. They fluttered and circled merrily in the air stream, but the demonstration served a serious purpose. The kites in the form of birds of prey are supposed to drive away unwelcome guests on plantations. "That convinced me immediately and I ordered five pieces," reports Lars Folde.

Now the kites, designed and manufactured in Denmark, are here. For two weeks they have been flying over the vineyard between Wurgwitz and Pesterwitz. The Danish guest workers have a specific mandate to keep starlings away. And they do that with complete success, says Folde: “I am very satisfied. We haven't had any problems with the starlings this year. "

Birds have had a bad reputation for years, especially when it comes to empty-feeding cherry trees in no time at all. But starlings are much more tasty than stone fruit from gardens and plantations. They love wild berries and grapes. The berries can be found near the A 17 motorway, where many shrubs and hedges were planted in the course of the motorway construction. Now in autumn the birds have their stomachs full there. Elder is very popular with starlings. If it is bald, go to the next variety. But no sooner have the last ripe wild berries been consumed than the starlings send their spies towards the vineyard. Folde: “They know exactly where to find something and always only go for ripe fruit. They wouldn't look at the Riesling just yet. "

Ate tons of grapes

Ten years ago, the Pesterwitz winegrowers saw a whole swarm of ripe Scheurebe grapes attack. "There were just 2.5 tons eaten away within a short time." Other birds would also come, says Lars Folde. Blackbirds and thrushes are also keen on delicious grapes. But not on the same scale as the black birds with their white spotted plumage. “They cling to the vines, crushing the fruit in the process. Anything that has not been eaten away by the starlings is then completely destroyed, ”reports Lars Folde.

For a long time the Pesterwitzers could only defend themselves with electronic scarecrows. Depending on the season, the small boxes hang in the vineyards and orchards around Pesterwitz and are connected to loudspeakers. Every five minutes they send out the cry of a bird of prey. That helps to a certain extent - and annoys residents.

The raptor kites, on the other hand, fly calmly over the vines - even in light winds. The construction ensures that. The starlings recognize real enemies in the dummies and turn away. At Gut Pesterwitz you can see real potential in this and soon want to test the kites at other feeding grounds as well. The Foldes think of the sweet cherry plantations or the strawberry fields. There pigeons and blackbirds cause losses every year, according to the fruit growers. It is still unclear whether the raptor kites have a permanent effect. For the moment, however, they are very satisfied, says the Guts boss. You only have to pull in the leash when a storm is announced.