1st Galaxy gets some interesting phone calls and requests into the office, and just before Christmas Sam was contacted by a farmers training co-operative in Lincolnshire – “Do you think you could provide some training for farmers using pyrotechnic bird scarers?”
Now sometimes I think Sam slips into “Bob the Builder” mode, and not just when she’s laying gravel for the drive! – “Yes we can” was of course the response, cue research into what pyrotechnic devices are actually available to the avian besieged farmer.
Well naturally the first place to start was with those leading agricultural authorities, The Archers, no The Wurzels!
Cue deepest zummerzet :
No longer can I sleep at night, get peace of any kind,
That bird’ll be the death of me, he’s prayin’ on me mind!
If I chase him long enough, I’ll get ‘en by and by,
And celebrate me vict’ry with a girt big blackbird pie!
Well that didn’t really help as their solution seemed to be “a gurt big stick” or a shotgun for pheasant, so what about our very own farming expert, but he’s more accustomed to “debollocking beasts” and apparently also favours a shotgun for bird control, which of course has it’s place, as the National Farmers Union guidance leaflet says “to reinforce the effectiveness of other measures”.
It turns out that there are basically three choices, gas cannons, rockets or banger ropes, with the latter two the closest to display fireworks. Now as it happens we sell a Jorge rocket for bird scaring, but to see what the banger ropes are like I needed to get in touch with Cumbrian based manufacturer Portek, and through them an agricultural supplier.
Buy some Bird Scaring Thunder Rockets – Bird Scaring Rockets
“Well you sound as if you’re over 18, You are using this product for agricultural purposes? Do you have your credit card details?” and 24 hours later one of those freelance couriers turned up in her car with a plain wrapped box!
Now according to the manufacturers information both the rockets and the banger ropes are 1.4G although they appear to contain flash powder composition, and interestingly they have a UN classification of 0431 which makes them “Pyrotechnic articles for technical purposes” and is a distinctly different classification from the fireworks that we use on displays which are classified in the range 0333 – 0336.
This is presumably how, unlike say Category 3 fireworks that we sell to the public which have to comply with BS7114 or EU and must be labelled with details of what they do, how to use them, etc, the agricultural products can be more akin to Cat4 display materials with pretty minimal labelling.
So at this point I thought another conversation with the lady from Lincolnshire was called for – “Well we’ve had a number of incidents…” – OK so that gave me some ideas for the main thrust of the training, and at least I’ve not got to find out how to identify species like Corvidae and Columbidae without Bill Oddie at your elbow!
Now I’ve just got to find this farm on the other side of Boston, in darkest Lincolnshire…