Hawks protect cherries from birds - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Hawks protect cherries from birds

YAKIMA, Wash. - Birds are a cherry growers worst night mare, but not for Eric Johnson, owner of Johnson Orchards.

This is the first year Johnson hasn't had to worry about birds eating his cherries.

He's tried everything from cherry guns to nets to try and keep the birds out, but this year he's found something new.

"Kestrel Hawks," Johnson said. "You know when I first heard about it I thought maybe I'll try it because I really didn't believe it. It sounded too good to be true."

Johnson first heard about the hawks from a local grower, Ben Dover, who used the hawks in his orchard three years ago.

The hawks like to next in bird houses, Dover said. He now makes and sells the houses to a variety of farmers all over the United States and in Canada.

"I've got 500 of them out right now from Wenatchee down into Oregon and couple up in Canada, Montana, and California even," Dover said.

Johnson has about four hawks that call his orchard home and he just hopes they return next year.

"It would be kind of disappointing if I didn't after getting to find out how this thing really works, because it works, I would stake my reputation on it," Johnson said.