09.09.2022

Sonberk's starlings

In the almost twenty years we have been farming at Sonberk, we know a lot about starlings. They appear in the vineyard all year round and most of the time they do no harm. They find nothing interesting. The situation changes in autumn, when the ripening grapes come into their sights and the chase begins. 

In years when there are large cornfields around the vineyard, we pull the short end of the stick. The starlings also feed on corn and are attracted to it like a magnet. The most critical situation usually occurs in early October, when starlings migrating from northern Europe appear in Moravia, at which time they are almost aggressive. 

We never kill starlings at Sonberk - a dead starling is of no use to humans. Our aim is to protect the crop by scaring the starlings away.  

There are many ways to scare them away - from a small ultrasonic whistle to the presence of a falconer in the vineyard to camera surveillance controlled by artificial intelligence. The last mentioned method was tested last year by scientists from the Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Communication Technologies of the BUT.

Each of the scare methods is differently effective depending on the size of the vineyard and the ruggedness of the terrain, and has different acquisition costs. At Sonberk, we use gas cannons every year, a simple cylinder system with a timer that makes noise at regular intervals. 

But nature is hard to be impressed by human gadgets! Moravian starlings are used to the blasts of gas cannons and do not want to be disturbed. That's why we have introduced the institution of a seasonal ranger at Sonberk, who scares the flock away by firing a gas gun into the air. We sometimes supplement these two methods with a model of a flying raptor. We do not use nets for economic reasons - it is simply not worthwhile to net forty hectares of vineyard.

And what did the starlings surprise us with this year? "Due to the drought this year, the starlings appeared early and tried to quench their thirst with grape juice. This is unusual because they are not normally interested in unripe grapes. With the arrival of the rains at the end of the summer, the starlings have retreated, and they appear minimally in the first two weeks of September. This is partly due to the fact that there is minimal corn in the fields below Sonberk," says our viticulturist Roman Slouk.

Other news
25.11.2022

Magnum dinner with Atelier Bar & Bistro at Sonberk

On Saturday, December 10, from 18:00, we invite you to an Advent menu by chef Pavel Kovář paired with Sonberk wines from magnum-sized bottles and surprises from the archives.
Read more
25.11.2022

Summer concerts 2023 at Sonberk

In cooperation with the project Hudba na vinicích, we will offer the 4th annual open air evening concerts from July to September. You are cordially invited!
Read more
08.11.2022

We present young Moravian Muscat 2022

The only young wine from Sonberk, traditionally ultra-dry. This year for the first time under screwcap, from three differently aged parts of the vineyard.
Read more
13.10.2022

How to do a bistro in Brno

In the new episode of the podcast we talk to Milan Bukovský, founder and owner of Atelier - Brno's popular bistro and cocktail bar.
Read more
11.10.2022

Sonberk Pálava scores high once again

In dry, sweet and straw version - Prague Wine Trophy awarded Sonberk Pálava and Botrytis Tramín.
Read more
What else?

Come for a glass of wine

Would you like to see and experience all this? We look forward to seeing you at Sonberk.

Visit us
Tell us your name and email