As grapes continue to ripen in the vineyards of Carneros a battle is being fought between grower and bird.
Flocks of birds can descend on a vineyard and devour young grapes. To prevent a free avian buffet growers take a variety of measures. Some attach strings of reflective ribbons to the vines. The ribbons whip in the wind and the flashes of light startle the birds and fly away.
Another tactic is to drape the vines with netting that allows the grapes to develop but protect them from foraging birds. The nets are often used with the reflective ribbons. Once the grapes are ready, the nets are rolled up and the grapes are harvested. A few companies also use devices that employ digital sound signals replicating bird distress and alarm calls to scare the birds away.
The most conspicuous method is the canons or bird guns, which blast off every five to ten minutes. During the mornings and evenings, when the canons are blasting off the most frequent, it can seem as if one is on the edge of a Civil War battlefield, hearing the desultory back and forth of artillery exchanges. The canon fire provides a surreal audio backdrop to an otherwise bucolic setting.