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A grouping of scarecrows in a rice paddy in Japan Kakashi2.jpg
A grouping of scarecrows in a rice paddy in Japan

A scarecrow is a decoy or mannequin that is often in the shape of a human. Humanoid scarecrows are usually dressed in old clothes and placed in open fields to discourage birds from disturbing and feeding on recently cast seed and growing crops. [1] Scarecrows are used around the world by farmers, and are a notable symbol of farms and the countryside in popular culture.



A scarecrow wearing a helmet (Japan) An Quan Mao woBei tsutaAn Shan Zi 6180154.jpg
A scarecrow wearing a helmet (Japan)

The common form of a scarecrow is a humanoid figure dressed in old clothes and placed in open fields to discourage birds such as crows or sparrows from disturbing and feeding on recently cast seed and growing crops. [1] Machinery such as windmills have been employed as scarecrows, but the effectiveness lessens as animals become familiar with the structures. [2]

Since the invention of the humanoid scarecrow, more effective methods have been developed. On California farmland, highly-reflective aluminized PET film ribbons are tied to the plants to produce shimmers from the sun. Another approach is using automatic noise guns powered by propane gas. One winery in New York has even used inflatable tube men or airdancers to scare away birds. [3]

Cultural impact

Circle of scarecrow children at Joe's Scarecrow Village Circle of scarecrow children at Joe's Scarecrow Village.JPG
Circle of scarecrow children at Joe's Scarecrow Village
Hodmedod Berkshire
Murmet Devon
Hay-man England
Gallybagger Isle of Wight
Tattie Bogal Isle of Skye
Tattie bogle [5]

Bodach-rocais (lit. "old man of the rooks")

Mommet Somerset
Mawkin Sussex
Bwbach Wales


Scarecrow of The BFG at Norland Scarecrow Festival, West Yorkshire, England Norland Scarecrow Festival 12.jpg
Scarecrow of The BFG at Norland Scarecrow Festival, West Yorkshire, England
Urchfont Scarecrow Festival, Ali Baba Urchfont Scarecrow Festival, Ali Baba.jpg
Urchfont Scarecrow Festival, Ali Baba

See also

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  1. 1 2 Lesley Brown (ed.). (2007). "Shorter Oxford English Dictionary on Historical Principles". 6th ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN   978-0-19-923324-3.
  2. Hartshorne, Henry (1881), The Household Cyclopedia of General Information, New York: Thomas Kelly, Machinery of various kinds, such as wind-mills in miniature, horse rattles, etc., to be put in motion by the wind, are often employed to frighten crows; but with all of these they soon become familiar, when they cease to be of any use whatever.
    Additionally, the humanoid frame of the traditional scarecrow was thought to aid in deterring the birds. The most effectual method of banishing them from a field, as far as experience goes, is to combine with one or other of the scarecrows in vogue the frequent use of the musket. Nothing strikes such terror into these sagacious animals as the sight of a fowling-piece and the explosion of gun powder, which they have known so often to be fatal to their race.
    Such is their dread of a fowling-piece, that if one is placed upon a dyke or other eminence, it will for a long time prevent them from alighting on the adjacent grounds. Many people now, however, believe that crows like most other birds, do more good by destroying insects and worms, etc., than harm by eating grain.
  3. Kamp, Jon (29 November 2013). "New Scarecrows for Vineyards: Car Dealers' Inflatable 'Dancing' Tube Men". Archived from the original on 2013-11-29 via Wall Street Journal.
  4. "Camilla's Beastly Bulletin #1: Scarecrows, Ax Murder and Aliens, Oh My!".
  5. Warrack, Alexander (1982). "Chambers Scots Dictionary". Chambers. ISBN   0-550-11801-2.
  6. Council, Urchfont Parish. "Urchfont Parish Council – Scarecrow Festival".
  7. Travis, Jo (2008). "CUTTING-EDGE OF HISTORY; DOWN YOUR WAY Jo Travis reports on a rural idyll that was once a world capital of industry". Birmingham Post & Mail Ltd.
  8. Scarecrow Committee (a subcommittee of Belbroughton Parochial Church Council). "Belbroughton Scarecrow Festival".
  9. "Kettlewell Scarecrow Festival draws in crowds". 2011-08-14. Retrieved 2012-07-12.
  10. Tiger Woods and Homer Simpson Appear at Village Scarecrow Festival, archived from the original on 2011-01-14
  11. "Tattie Bogal – Home".
  12. "Scarecrow Trail".
  13. "Scarecrow Festival".
  14. "Village hands over £13,500 – Local". Melton Times. 2010-02-09. Retrieved 2012-07-12.
  15. "Guinness World Records". 7 August 2014.

Further reading

Scarecrow Fact and Fable, Peter Haining, 1986