A scarecrow was originally made to deter crows and other birds from ruining farmer’s crops. Often shaped like a human, a scarecrow is a decoy or mannequin. Human scarecrows usually wear old clothes and are placed in open fields. Scarecrows have been around much longer than you might think – the first scarecrows were made about 3,000 years ago! Egyptians originally built them to protect wheat fields along the Nile River. Greek farmers used to make scarecrows that resembled Priapus, the son of Dionysus and Aphrodite. According to myth, Priapus lived near vineyards and was very ugly. When Priapus played in the vineyards, he scared the birds away and improved harvests.
Although they have been around for so long, there have since been more effective methods of scaring birds away. In the past, windmills were used to replace scarecrows. The birds are smarter than you might think, and they quickly become accustomed to these structures. Some of these attempts include hanging tins in trees or noise guns. Birds are also scared off by the smell of humans that lingers from the scarecrow’s clothes. The crows, being as adaptable as they are, usually realize it’s a trick and enter anyway after a while.