What's that noise? 'Sound cannons' used to scare off birds in Wenatchee


It sounded like someone was shooting a shotgun or a rifle.

If this was up on Number Two Canyon, I’d be ready for the sounds of gunshots at the gun club, or the several locations up the road. But these loud gunshot or cannon sounds - are coming from the other side of the Wenatchee Irrigation Canal. About a quarter mile north of where the canal meets up with Maple Street.

BOOM! Wait about another minute and there is another BOOM!

Looking up, I see the sounds are coming from a cherry orchard. The Wenatchee Valley fruit trees are getting close to being fully ripe. This time of year, orchard owners are wary of hungry birds nabbing the valuable ripe cherries.

BreakingTheWalls/Getty Images
BreakingTheWalls/Getty Images

Some owners will spring for netting to surround the entire perimeter of the orchard. Others use strips of foil to keep birds away from their trees. Others are using ‘Sound Cannons.’  I’m sure that's what I’m hearing along the Wenatchee Irrigation Canal.

According to agricultural experts, bird cannons are typically used to scare away birds and mitigate predation on the berries for both cherries and other fruit. They are non-chemical compared to other techniques.

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A bird cannon consists of a tube and it's propelled by propane. They don't shoot anything out, but they do make a very loud cannon-gunshot like noise.

Farmers can also use netting, traps, and shiny tape to ward off birds, but each situation may require different tools.

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