The History of Scarecrows

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Real Estate Agent with Sun Lakes Realty DRE #01492138
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The History of Scarecrows

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. 

The History of ScarecrowsFarmers 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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Rainmaker
1,064,087
Sharon Parisi
United Real Estate Dallas - Dallas, TX
Dallas Homes

Kristin,  I enjoyed learning about scarecrows!  Like you, I only knew that farmers used them to scare away birds.  I also thought they probably did not work.  If they've been used for 2500 years, they must work for farmers!

Oct 24, 2013 03:20 PM #9
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Kristin Hamilton CA Realtor
Sun Lakes Realty - Banning, CA
(909) 557-6966- Specialize 55+ Communties Banning

Hi Sharon,

I was totally surprised that this tradition has lasted over 2500 years so they must have been pretty smart to think of it. Early in history they had real people who would scare the birds and yell but of course they still came back. Must have been a hard job standing in the fields all day chasing the birds off!

Oct 25, 2013 12:00 AM #10
Rainmaker
180,189
Terri Woods
Benton, Linn and Douglas Counties - Days Creek, OR
Selling Homes and Land in Oregon

Hi Kristin - I just love reading about why we do the things we do from all the AR blogs. Regarding scarecrows, too bad the birds today are smarter than the birds of yesteryear. :) Thanks for the post.

Oct 25, 2013 01:57 AM #11
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Kristin Hamilton CA Realtor
Sun Lakes Realty - Banning, CA
(909) 557-6966- Specialize 55+ Communties Banning

Hi Terri,

Yes you are so right so I am not sure what the farmers in my area use. I have fruit trees and between the birds and the dogs, there is not a whole lot left to make smoothies with. I love to decorate with the scarecrows and found several cute picks last night at the dollar store.

Oct 26, 2013 02:09 AM #12
Rainmaker
3,319,088
Sally K. & David L. Hanson
EXP Realty 414-525-0563 - Brookfield, WI
WI Realtors - Luxury - Divorce

Who knew ?  Interesting to learn the history behind things as we have never imagined them

Oct 26, 2013 10:13 AM #13
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Kathy Streib
Room Service Home Staging - Delray Beach, FL
Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224

weekly notification

Oct 26, 2013 10:50 AM #14
Rainmaker
562,051
Women of Westchester Working Together
Women of Westchester Working Together - West Harrison, NY
Women helping Women get ahead

Thanks Kristin.  Wow, I had no idea that scarecrows have been around that long.  Thx for sharing.  You always have such wonderful trivia info.  - Debbie

Oct 26, 2013 09:53 PM #15
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Kristin Hamilton CA Realtor
Sun Lakes Realty - Banning, CA
(909) 557-6966- Specialize 55+ Communties Banning

Hi Sally,

I research almost everything I put on my blog and I too found this interesting and thought AR members would too. Glad you enjoyed it and have a great weekend.

Oct 26, 2013 11:56 PM #16
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Kristin Hamilton CA Realtor
Sun Lakes Realty - Banning, CA
(909) 557-6966- Specialize 55+ Communties Banning

Hi Kathy,

Thanks so much for the honor of  being one the the AR member's post being mentioned on your blog. I am on my way there right now.

Oct 26, 2013 11:57 PM #17
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Kristin Hamilton CA Realtor
Sun Lakes Realty - Banning, CA
(909) 557-6966- Specialize 55+ Communties Banning

Hi Debbie,

Thanks so much for the nice comments. When I find something that is interesting, I share as we all want to learn new ideas and history. We typically just do things because it has always been done or we celebrate a tradition as our ancestors did but I try to research and find out why. Most of the time, it is an ah-ha moment.

Oct 27, 2013 12:00 AM #18
Rainmaker
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Ron and Alexandra Seigel
Napa Consultants - Carpinteria, CA
Luxury Real Estate Branding, Marketing & Strategy

Kristin,

That is an interesting post, and I enjoyed reading about scarecrows.  It seems like the Egyptians were instrumental in teaching us a lot of things. A

Oct 27, 2013 01:47 AM #19
Rainmaker
1,527,518
Gary L. Waters Broker Associate, Bucci Realty
Bucci Realty, Inc. - Melbourne, FL
Fifteen Years Experience in Brevard County

Interesting history. Best thing to really scare birds and deer..tie a plastic bag or two to wire. The noise will scare them.  This will not work for your yard decor though!

Oct 27, 2013 02:33 AM #20
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Kristin Hamilton CA Realtor
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Hi Alexandra,

We got about 90% of our current traditions from other parts of the world and I think that is one reason we are so universal. When people of different cultures came to America, their traditions caught one and have been passed down through the ages.

Oct 27, 2013 02:52 AM #21
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Kristin Hamilton CA Realtor
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(909) 557-6966- Specialize 55+ Communties Banning

Hi Gary,

I love my little backyard birds so I do not want to scare them off. Recently I have a noisy pair of mockingbirds who show up every morning and want to get fed. They have around around for about 10 minutes and then take off. The scarecrows do not bother them either. Very interesting idea about tying bags to make noise. I will remember that trick as it might come in handy in the future. I am not a fan of using any type of chemicals in my yard or to get rid of gophers as it might get picked up by wildlife or pets. So the bag is a good trick and not lethal.

Oct 27, 2013 02:59 AM #22
Rainer
237,488
Jay & Michelle Lieberman
Keller Williams World Class - Agoura Hills, CA
Creating Calm in the Buying and Selling Chaos

Interesting (and a bit sad) that dangerous chemicals took the place of the innocent earth made scarecrow.

Oct 27, 2013 04:58 AM #23
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Ed Silva
RE/MAX Professionals, CT 203-206-0754 - Waterbury, CT
Central CT Real Estate Broker Serving all equally

I learned a lot about scarecrows, and I like the idea of plastic bags as the deer spend too much time around my yard

Oct 27, 2013 05:25 AM #24
Rainmaker
231,999
Helen and Larry Prier- Re-Max Gateway - Residential Real Estate
RE-MAX Gateway- Residential Real Estate Sales - Anacortes, WA
Anacortes & surrounding Skagit & Island Counties

Kristin, Great info on the history. Who knew most of these facts. Very timely post. Thanks

Oct 27, 2013 06:05 AM #25
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Kristin Hamilton CA Realtor
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(909) 557-6966- Specialize 55+ Communties Banning

Hi Jay and Michelle,

I agree but that seems to be the way of the world. I think it would be a boring task to be the one out in the field all day scaring the birds away. I let the birds enjoy the fruit off my trees and I never spray any chemicals except on my hibiscus plants that get all kinds of little bugs.

Nov 07, 2013 12:23 PM #26
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Kristin Hamilton CA Realtor
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(909) 557-6966- Specialize 55+ Communties Banning

Hi Ed,

Sometimes the simplest ideas work the best. Paper scares off predators I have heard.

Nov 07, 2013 12:25 PM #27
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Kristin Hamilton CA Realtor
Sun Lakes Realty - Banning, CA
(909) 557-6966- Specialize 55+ Communties Banning

Hi Larry and Helen,

I like to buy a few scarecrows to decorate my plants in the fall. It makes me feel like the warm weather is almost gone and the cool weather, leaves, and rust tones on the trees are coming. Fall is my favorite time of the year.

Nov 07, 2013 12:27 PM #28
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