September 29, 2016 · 0 Comments
The public gallery in Mono’s council chambers was crowded Tuesday by residents of the Hockley Valley area who complained about the noise from bird bangers at the Adamo winery’s vineyard.
The residents were there in support of a letter to Mono Mayor Laura Ryan from Dr. Isabella Bakker and Dr. Stephen Gill asking that Mono Council look into the problem.
The letter writers said they were “fully supportive of a winery in our area and believe it will be an asset in the long run,” adding: “We are optimistic that an agreeable solution can be found in a partnership of the Town of Mono, the Adamo enterprise and the community in which we live.”
However, they said they left the city 10 years ago “for the rural and peaceful environment Mono offers. This has now been shattered by frequent gunshot-like sounds that echo over the valley from the winery.”
Speaking to Council, Dr. Bakker estimated at 150 the number of daily blasts from the bird bangers and suggested that other means should be tried to deal with the bird problem.
Several residents told Council that the intermittent noise starts daily at about 7 a.m. and continues until dusk. Some said they initially thought the noise was from hunters in the nearby woods and that made them fear using the local trails.
One man told the meeting his research showed that the bird bangers were only one of many devices used in California to combat the birds and the only one that has been successful involves installing overhead nets.
Responding to the complaints, winery owner John Paul Adamo said that last year, when bird bangers weren’t used, the birds wiped out 75 per cent of the grape crop. This year, with the devices in operation as the grapes ripened, the loss thus far has been just 12 per cent.
Mr. Adamo said he has been trying other means of dealing with the problem and may look at the option of overhead nets. Saying the unusually hot, dry weather led to an early ripening of the grapes that required use of the bird bangers earlier than usual, he said harvesting is now under way and the devices should be needed for only another three or four weeks.
Mayor Ryan, who wondered whether drones might offer a solution, promised Council will arrange a meeting at which the problem can be addressed. Mr. Adamo indicated he would be willing to attend.
Toward the end of the discussion, one resident chimed in with a little Rodgers and Hammerstein. In Mono, he said, “the hills are alive with the sound of gunfire.”