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Birds Stay Away From This Moving Scarecrow
When flocks of sparrows attacked his gar-den last summer, retired ag contractor Don Dixon got mad. The birds paid no attention to regular scarecrows and he has neighbors too close by to use "sonic boomers". So he decided to come up with something new.
The result is a moving scarecrow that's powered by a slow trickle of water. The head of the scarecrow is a 1-gal. plastic pail that's filled with water. Water flows out the bottom of the pail through a small hose that leads to a cup on one end of the scarecrow's pivoting arms. When the cup fills with water, the weight of it causes the arm to drop, raising the other end of the arm which has a plastic bottle on it with marbles inside. It makes a racket that'll scare any nearby birds.
Key to success is the unpredictability and sudden movement of the bird scarer. At first Dixon had considered using an electric motor but couldn't see how to get movement at unexpected intervals without using complicated electronics. "Water is much simpler and gives the rapid jarring action I wanted," says Dixon, noting that "birds don't get used to it".
A water hose and float can be hooked up to the scarecrow's "head" so the pail refills automatically. A valve in the hose beneath the pail controls the flow of water into the cup on the counterbalanced arms. The cup on the arms is cut out on the side so when it drops, water cascades out, sending the arm back to the up position so the marbles rattle again.
By adjusting the water valve, the operation interval can be varied from 20 seconds to nearly as long as you like.
Dixon now sells the scarecrows through his small garden tool catalog. C o n - tact: FARM SHOW Followup, Don Dixon, CorfeMullen,Dorset,England. (Reprinted from Farmer's Weekly)

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1994 - Volume #18, Issue #4