As most of you familiar with grape-growing will know, birds can be a terrible problem for a vineyard.  In fact, they can be downright devastating.  But it may surprise you to know that there are several birds I like having around.

First is the bluebird.  This stylish creature is worth its weight in gold when it has a brood to feed.  It can pick off bugs and larvae that you can hardly see.  The only time I saw a bluebird this past summer was with a worm in its beak.  And since it can have more than one brood, the benefits of having this bird stick around continue through most of the summer.

If you want bluebirds to come around your vineyard, now is the time to get those new houses up and the old ones cleaned and repaired.  The male bluebird will scout out a home as early as February.  Bluebirds like open spaces such as a vineyard’s turning ends.  Try to place houses in a spot that will not receive spray.  On top of a steel post or on a post with a protective cover around it so critters can’t crawl up is the best place.  Place houses at least 50 feet apart.

Owls are another bird that I like having around because they help by getting those mice, gophers and rabbits.  You can make an owl box and place it well up in a tree.  Owls can hatch out a brood in February so get a house up early.  If an owl has enough food it will stay most of the year.

Hawks are another bird of prey that will stay around most of the year and may use the owl box that you put out.  Hawks are useful to keep other birds away from the grapes during the daytime.  They’re a pretty intimidating presence and will scare birds off whenever they fly overhead.

Go to the North American Bluebird Society for plans for a bluebird house and for additional information about bluebirds:

Go to the Missouri Conservation Website for good plans and information on building an Owl box:

You can find a large amount of information from many sources on the Web.  It is a nice change for creatures to help in a vineyard instead of being a problem.  All it may take is a little time to make a welcoming home.