Klopotec: a Bird-Scaring Wind-Rattle

A “klopotec” or “klapotets” is a wooden mechanical device on a high wooden pole, similar to a windmill. It is used as a bird scarer in the vineyards of traditional wine-growing landscapes of Slovenia, Austria, and Croatia. The first written mentions of the technology date to the second half of the 18th century, whereas its oldest depictions date to the first half of the 19th century.

As the axis rotates in the wind, wooden hammers are lifted off their resting position by fixed notches. As they fall back, they rhythmically impact on a wooden board. While the quality of the sound is dependent on the wood of which the hammers and sounding boards are made of, the rattle frequency depends on the number of hammers, as well as changes in wind speed.

The klopotec was only used from July until November, after which it was disassembled for winter. The largest construction of this type in a natural setting stood in the Sausal mountain range, near the summit of the Demmerkogel. It was 16 meters high, and each of the eight hammers weighed 40 kilograms. It was destroyed in a storm in November 2017.

Sources: 1 / 2 / 3.