Scarecrows are one of the more popular symbols of Fall and the harvest season. The origin of straw men dates back thousands of years, protecting ripening crops from birds. While we think of scarecrows as constructed of straw and old clothes, they are made of many things. Among the earliest scarecrows were actual men hired to roam fields, to scare birds away. If your job is to scare away birds, YOU are a scarecrow.
Scarecrows continue to be popular today, in many home gardens. During the growing season, they help to protect fruits and vegetables, as they begin to ripen. That’s why they are so closely associated with the fall and harvest season, making them a popular symbol of Fall.
Did you Know? There are scarecrow festivals all over the country, most held in the Fall.
The first scarecrows were in Ancient Egypt, dating back over 3,000 years. They used them to protect wheat fields along the Nile River from quail. The Greeks, Romans, Japanese, and many other cultures, used them to protect their crops, too. Many forms of scarecrows, from life-sized wooden carvings of scary men to real-live humans, were used. In the Middle Ages, Europeans believed scarecrows had special powers. Also, Native Americans used them, to keep crows and other birds from their corn crops.
Did You Know? The Scarecrow is a villain in some Batman movies.
There is no right or wrong way to make a scarecrow.
Start with a long, garden stake or pole. It should have a pointed end, to push or pound into the ground. Add a shorter board or pole towards the top, to support and extend the scarecrow’s arms. Use nails or rope, to fasten it to the long pole.
Take old, ragged pants and a shirt. Stuff the pants with straw.
Now insert the long pole through one pant leg.
Put the shirt sleeves through the cross pole and button it up.
Now, stuff the shirt with straw. Then, tuck the shirt into the pants.
The head can be made of many things… use your imagination:
Add a straw hat, and your scarecrow is ready to scare away birds. Or, add it to your fall yard decorations.
The Most Famous Scarecrow: Without a doubt, the most famous scarecrow was in The Wizard of Oz (If only he had a brain). He was played by Ray Bolger, The farmhand “Hunk”.
Scarecrows were used for bird control for thousands of years. And, they are still used. However, garden nylon pest netting is far more effective, efficient, and easy to use. Controlling birds is a snap with this bird netting. Just place it on the tree, bush, or plant, and birds are no longer a problem. Bird pest netting can be used on big and small plants. Also, as a garden netting, it can be draped over your vegetable garden. It can completely wrap a cherry tree or blueberry bush. Commercial growers sometimes make a frame and create a “roof” of bird pest netting across a large area.
Bird pest netting is very lightweight. You can set it on most crops without damage. Use caution when setting it on the tenderest of plants, like lettuce. For a more permanent cover, make a simple frame to set the netting on. Sun, rain, and air circulation can enter and exit easily through the netting, helping to keep the plant healthy.