Making a DIY recycled scarecrow can be a fun, family project to undertake in your garden. While items such as fruit cages and polytunnels will help keep birds off your crops, a scarecrow could be a fun addition to other growing areas.
Different Strategies for a DIY Recycled Scarecrow
Scarecrows come in a range of shapes and sizes. You may think of a traditional human shaped scarecrow like the one in ‘The Wizard of Oz’ but those are not the only option. When building your DIY recycled scarecrow, think about what strategy you will use. You could create:
- Human shaped scarecrows (Birds may think a human is in the garden and stay away.)
- Birds of prey shaped scarecrows (Birds may believe a predator is about.)
- Erratically moving scarecrows (Unpredictable movement may keep birds away.)
- Noisy Scarecrows (Clattering or chiming scarecrows may scare birds off.)
Gathering Materials for a DIY Recycled Scarecrow
Once you have decided what sort of scarecrow you will create, it is time to start gathering materials to make your structure. The good news is that you will not have to spend any money at all in order to create a fantastic DIY recycled scarecrow. With a little imagination, you can find ways to combine a range of natural and scrap materials that might otherwise be thrown away to create your scarecrow.
The type of scarecrow you decide to make will often be decided by the materials that you have to hand. If you have plenty of scrap material, a traditional scarecrow may be the way to go. If you have plenty of plastic food packaging, or natural material, noise-creating or moving scarecrows might be easier options. Use your imagination and get the kids involved in making your cool and crazy creations.
Will A Scarecrow Really Scare Birds Away?
Opinions differ on exactly how effective scarecrows can really be. The truth of the matter is that while scarecrows can often work in the short term, birds will often learn that they pose no threat and will return to your garden. To prolong the length of time for which scarecrows work, it is best to switch things around on a regular basis to keep the birds guessing. Consider creating several DIY recycled scarecrows rather than just one, and changing the guard regularly.
Other Methods for Protecting Crops from Birds
Of course, a scarecrow is just part of an effective system for managing bird pests. To really protect your crops and make sure they are safe from greedy birds, barriers are the best protection. Growing brassicas in a polytunnel or under netting, for example, will keep them safe from pigeons, while soft fruits are best grown in fruit cages to keep the birds from eating all the berries and fruits before you can get to them.
Have you made a DIY recycled scarecrow for your garden? Let us know whether you have successfully kept birds at bay in the comments below.
Elizabeth Waddington is a writer and green living consultant living in Scotland. Permaculture and sustainability are at the heart of everything she does, from designing gardens and farms around the world, to inspiring and facilitating positive change for small companies and individuals.
She also works on her own property, where she grows fruit and vegetables, keeps chickens and is working on the eco-renovation of an old stone barn.