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A test conducted by a consulting company in The Netherlands shows that laser beams are an effective way to scare birds away from orchards.

The company, CLM Research and Advice, tested the Agrilaser Autonomic last summer in an apple and pear orchard that had experienced major fruit damage from birds. Orchardist Arnold Gosgoed said that after the automated laser was introduced the birds disappeared. The system makes no sound, and the birds do not seem to get used to the laser beam. It is easy to install and requires no maintenance.

The Bird Control Group, based in Delft, The Netherlands, which developed the Agrilaser, plans to test the system on a larger scale.

Birds perceive the laser beam, which makes random sweeps across the orchard, as an imminent physical danger. A trajectory is programmed via a laptop computer or tablet to cover a designated area. Depending on the weather, an area of 100 to 1,200 hectares (250 to 3,000 acres) can be kept bird-free around the clock.

Bird Control Group is part of Yes!Delft, an incubator program of the Delft University of Technology. Its scientists have spent three years developing the laser technology.

Check the website www.birdcontrolgroup.com for more information.