Yorkshire Times
Voice of the North
4:18 PM 20th May 2020

Bert’s Enlist Geoff The Hawk To Protect Pick Your Own Crops

The team at a North Yorkshire farm shop have added a feathered member of staff to their payroll in a bid to protect their Pick Your Own crops.

Bert’s Barrow, based at Hillam near Selby are enjoying daily visits from Geoff the Harris Hawk in order to keep the crows from snacking on their strawberries and pumpkins.

Owner Charlotte Wells-Thompson said: “Last year the crows decimated our crops and we tried everything from scare crows to bird scarers to keep them away. Finally, and by pure chance, we met Kira from KL Falconry who brought along Geoff and our problem was solved!”

A natural way of scaring birds away from the farm, Geoff’s owner Kira Weston flies him backwards and forwards over the fields to keep the crows at bay whilst the plants get established.

Charlotte continues: “It’s particularly important at the moment to protect the fields as the strawberries are almost ripe and we are planting out the small pumpkin plants ready for the autumn seasons which the crows seem to love! Geoff has been doing a fantastic job of keeping the crows away and it’s great for our customers to watch while they are shopping at the Drive Though.”

Geoff, who is normally used for experience days alongside Kira’s other birds of prey, now comes to the farm each day to scare away the pests from the 13.5k pumpkin plants and fields of strawberries which will be ready for customers to pick in early June.

Hattie and Tilly Wells-Thimpson with Geoff
Hattie and Tilly Wells-Thimpson with Geoff
“Under the current social distancing restrictions we’ve had to think about how we can run our popular Pick Your Own fruit section differently this year. We’ve stocked up on PPE for all customers and will be keeping them apart on the field so you can still enjoy the experience even in these tricky times.” Charlotte said.

Bert’s Barrow have used a number of innovative solutions over recent weeks to keep their business up and running during the current lockdown, including turning their popular farm shop into a drive through which enables customers to stock up on essentials without leaving their car.

The family owned business run by Charlotte and husband Jason has been praised for their innovation which is providing vital support for both the surrounding community and local producers alike during the pandemic.

Bert’s Barrow Drive-Through is open 9-4pm Tuesday – Saturday with special late-night opening times for the NHS on certain days throughout the week. For more information visit their website or keep an eye on their Facebook page.