If you visit the wine-growing areas in the south of Styria, you will notice the large windmills everywhere, which not only turn merrily, but also make a lot of noise when the wind blows and fill the whole mountain with sound. These are the Klaptotetze, which are widespread in southern Styria and Slovenia and have been used here as scarecrows since the 18th century.
They were first mentioned in handwriting in 1797, but legend has it that the first Klapotetz was erected as early as the 16th century. Their origin is probably in Slovenia, as the word klapotetz is derived from the Slovenian term “klopótec”, which means “rattle”. There is also a beautiful picture of the castle near Celje on which a klapotetz is located.
What is interesting is the design of the wind turbines, which indicates a long experience and close observation of their effect on bird life. To build an original Klapotetz, four types of wood are needed: the windmill with its eight wings (in Slovenia there are usually only six) is made of spruce, as its elastic wood is best suited for the construction, ash or chestnut is used for the block, the mallets are made of beech, and for the striking board, wood from fruit trees, usually cherry, is used, as only this produces the penetrating sounds that are sure to scare away the birds.
Traditionally, there is a bush made of birch twigs at the back end, which always turns the windmill into the wind.
Today, this landmark can be seen and heard everywhere in the wine-growing areas of southern Styria and it is almost something like an unofficial emblem of the region.
Incidentally, Slovenian and Austrian dictionaries say “der” Klapotetz, but in Southern Styria we say “die” Klapotetz, probably derived from the original use of the term “die Windmühl”, which then changed to “die Klapotetz”.