Jumping Cowboy Keeps Birds Away

That farmer-built jumping cowboy scarecrow we told you about a year ago in FARM SHOW that incorporates the noise of a sound cannon to keep birds out of fields is now on the market.

Pete Konzak, Devils Lake, N. Dak., originally built the "Jumping Cowboy" to keep blackbirds out of his sunflower fields.

The Cowboy is a man-sized scarecrow attached to a propane-powered scare cannon that makes a boom when it goes off and sends the cowboy 30 in. up into the air. It twirls as it comes back down, so that streamers trailing from the arms of the cowboy flap in the wind, helping scare off birds. The unit is controlled by a 12-V battery. A solenoid closes off the scarecrow at night to conserve fuel.

Konzak recommends setting the Cowboy into the center of a 40 acre field, preferably on a high spot where it will be highly visible. It's best to start the device several weeks before the crop is ripe to condition birds to the idea that they aren't welcome in your fields, says Konzak. The scarecrow "goes off" 30 to 40 times a day, and stops at night. A small propane tank holds enough fuel to run the scarecrow 3 to 4 weeks.