Move over superman, there’s a new hero of the skies. And he goes by the name Rambo. But this isn’t the same Rambo played by Sly Stone. We’re talking about a different soldier. His mission? Save California grapes from lethal attackers.
See there are these little birds – starlings, finches, blackbirds – that like to snack on sweet, ripe grapes hanging on the vine. They just sit in the vines all day long chirping, gossiping, being annoying, and snacking. Ugh, get a life. We need those little grapes to make wine, after all.
There are a few different ways to scare these little flappers away. There’s netting that can protect the vines and grapes or there is a device called a propane-based bird cannon. This is not a cannon that shoots little birds out of it, like the visual that originally pops in your my head. It’s a cannon that releases a loud sound (similar to a gunshot) that scares the birds away.
These two methods are the most popular approach, but there’s a new badass in town and he goes by the name Rambo. At the young age of six, he’s already scaring off other smaller birds. Although he shows up to a vineyard in a cute, little helmet (actually called a hood), take that thing off and you unleash the beast. Still have no idea what I’m talking about? Rambo is a bird. But he’s not just any bird. Rambo is a f*cking falcon.
Hoodless, Rambo gets released in the vineyard hungry and ready to hunt. He soars high above the rows of vines, wings spread wide, he’s constantly circling. Ok, so he’s actually hunting a lure that his owner swings in the air. He dive bombs at the lure to make it look like he’s hunting on prey. So the little chatty birdies think he’s actually hunting, but they’re too busy snacking to notice that he’s actually faking it. Suddenly, there is silence as the little chatty, hungry birdies flee the vines. It worked. “Go off and cry now,” Rambo smirks (he has a beak and doesn’t actually smirk or talk), flying back down to perch, take a rest and reflect on all he has accomplished – saving the life of grapes from little birdies. He flips his feathers and puts on his kickass hood. Off to save the next vineyard.
Editor’s Note: Rambo is an actual falcon owned by Authentic Abatement, a company that uses falconry to scare away damaging species of birds in California vineyards.