The History of Scarecrows
The History of Scarecrows
Hungry birds have always been a problem and they eat the crops in the fields. The first recorded history of Scarecrows were over 2500 years ago when the Egyptians and Greeks put them in their fields to protect the wheat from large flocks of quail and other hungry birds.
Immigrants who moved to the United States during the 1800s brought with them a variety of ideas for making scarecrows. In Pennsylvania, German farmers built human looking scarecrows called a bootzamon or bogeyman. His body was a wooden cross and his head was a broom or mop top or a cloth bundle stuffed with straw. The bootzamon wore old overalls, a long-sleeved shirt or coat, a worn woolen or straw hat, and a large red hankerchief around his neck. Sometimes a second scarecrow was built to keep the bootzamon company. A bootzafrau or bogeywife, dressed in a long dress or coat and wearing a sunbonnet on her head, was placed on the opposite end of the field. The bootzamon and bootzafrau guarded cornfields, strawberry patches, and cherry orchards.
During the Great Depression of the 1930s scarecrows became very popular and could be found all across America. Then after World War II farming became a big business and farmers decided scarecrows didn't work. So they started spraying or dusting their crops with poisonous chemicals like DDT until in the 1960s scientists discovered that these chemicals might hurt people who ate the sprayed crops.
Then some farmers built contraptions like whirligigs that spun in the air like windmills to scare away the birds.
Farmers still use scarecrows all over the world and I put them in my yard as decorations. The birds are not scared of them and actually land on their heads. I don't care as I love the birds and want them in my yard.
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