Food and Wine

November 11, 2021

Soaring Falcons Protect Vineyards From Prey

Harris Hawk flying through the rows of vines at Blakeslee Vineyards in Oregon's Willamette Valley

Alina Blankenship working with her Harris Hawk as it flies through the rows of vines at Blakeslee Vineyards in Oregon’s Willamette Valley

Managing vineyards presents all the same challenges as other types of agriculture. One concern for vineyards is the need to protect their fruit from song birds. One successful means to that end is to use especially trained falcons. September issue of Oregon Wine Press I photographed Justin Robertson and Alina Blankenship professional falconers for Sky Guardian Falconry.

It was fascinating to watch Justin and Alina work with their feathered staff. I am not a wildlife photographer, so I found trying to photograph flying birds quite challenging.

Portrait of Master falconer, Dramatic portrait of master Falconer Alina Blankenship with one of her falcons at Blakeslee Vineyards in the Willamette Valley.

Dramatic portrait of master Falconer Alina Blankenship with one of her falcons at Blakeslee Vineyards in the Willamette Valley.

Harris Hawk flying through the rows of vines at Blakeslee Vineyards in Oregon's Willamette Valley

Harris Hawk flying through the rows of vines at Blakeslee Vineyards in Oregon’s Willamette Valley.Sky Guardian’s Falconry abatement for Oregon Vineyards

Master Falconer Justin Robertson with a Gyrfalcon at Blakeslee Vineyards.

Master Falconer Justin Robertson holding a Gyrfalcon at Blakeslee Vineyards.

Alina Blankenship playing affectionately with one of her falcons.

Alina Blankenship playing affectionately with one of her falcons.

Gloves and hood used for falconry resting on vineyard vine.

Tools of the trade. Gloves and hood used for falconry resting on vineyard vine.

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