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Scarecrows protect fields and farmers
Scarecrows are an integral part of the rural landscape. Made of stick, hays and clothes, with a cap or turban as headgear, these contraptions have been in use for centuries. Farmers need to adapt constantly to keep the birds away.
THE WORD ‘scarecrow’ literally means ‘which scares away crows’, hence the name scarecrow. Traditional scarecrows remain the best; it’s economical, affordable and an integral part of our rural life.
 
If you’re traversing across various part of Madhya Pradesh or that matter rural India, you could encounter variety of scarecrow in the fields with sown in rabi crop. Scarecrows are kind of an essential part of the rural landscape. Though with reeling water crisis many districts of the state of Madhya Pradesh are witnessing drought hence may not be having crops but if fields are sown, and / or crops are there you will find scarecrows.
 
Gardeners’ Dictionary defines scarecrow as a crude image or effigy of a person—often entertainingly dressed—that is set up in a farm field or garden to scare crows and other birds away from food plants. These are used to prevent crows and birds to feed on recently cast seed or fresh crops, and also to prevent them to flock over the fields.
 
Normally farmers use old clothes and straw to create a menacing looking figure that they hope would frighten crows away from the freshly planted crops. Scarecrows date back several centuries in India and across the globe. Answer.com describes that the earliest known written fact about scarecrow’s are from the year 1592. One of the oldest designs of bird scare is the scarecrow is in the shape of a human figure, which is used till date. It also has different forms and some are real creative.
 
In Madhya Pradesh too one might notice its different forms. Some use painted earthen pot with a human face and place it upside down on the wooden pole; others may have human figure with a traditional turban on its head or may have a cap if they intend to give it a modern look! They say crows and birds adapt get adapted to the designs, hence one needs to innovate its shape and designs and even use number of scarecrows in the fields. Sizes vary depending on the field size. Normally they use clothes that are bright so that it is visible from a distance.
 
Though many question effectiveness of these scarecrows to frighten away the birds. But, with technology coming in options like flexible bird netting, motion sensor combined with a sprinkler system and reflective PET film ribbons are some of the available options but for many of us, like me, traditional scarecrows would remain the best. These are economical, affordable and are part of our rural life. Scarecrows are known throughout the world, although they called different names in some counties.
 
In Scotland, for example, a scarecrow is called a tattie bogle while in Sommerset, England scarecrows are commonly referred to as Mommets. While one is talking of scarecrows it is necessary to mention ‘klopotec,’ which is a wooden mechanical device on a high wooden pole, resembling a windmill. It is used as a scarecrow in wine growing landscapes of Slovenia, Austria and Croatia.
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