Birds chowing down on beleaguered N.S. grape crop
Owners of a small vineyard in Nova Scotia have given up, for this year.
Most of the grapes were already lost to an early frost and the rest are going to the birds.
In a scene reminiscent of an Alfred Hitchcock film, hundreds of birds, starlings to be exact, have been chirping and attacking a small vineyard in North River.
Their juicy target is bunches of sweet, Frontenac blanc grapes.
“It is the Twitterverse, to say the least,” said vineyard owner Jill Lindquist. “They're very good at networking and they'll send out a scout as to where the food source is, and they will come in in droves.”
It's almost as if nature has conspired against the Goose Landing Vineyard. It’s a 0.75 acre operation that has supplied Benjamin Bridge.
In June, Lindquist's husband talked about how frost had decimated much of the vines before they had a chance to bud.
“That decreased our yield down by about 75 per cent, so we were only expecting about 1,500 pounds this year,” she said.
The hot dry summer meant the grapes ripened about two weeks early.
“Doing a cost analysis, looking at our reduced yield, we made the decision not to net, and we've gone with a spray, an avian spray,” Lundquist said. “It's a bird deterrent.”
The spray doesn't hurt the birds, or affect the grapes. but Lindquist says it was ineffective after it rained.
Another frost last night means the leaves are starting to fall, exposing more of the remaining grapes.
Lindquist says she's not going to worry.
“Once we made the decision to call off the harvest, and just let the birds feast, the stress is gone,” she said.
Despite this year's setback, Lindquist says she and her husband will continue to operate this small vineyard, with hopes that next year's season won't be nearly as disastrous as this one.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Dan MacIntosh.