Do Scarecrows Even Work?

Last updated on October 23rd, 2023 at 08:52 pm

The scarecrow should serve to protect their own field or garden. If you have just sown fresh lawn or grown vegetables, then there is a risk that other birds could quickly attack the seeds.

These animals are usually shy of humans. If people approach, the birds fly away and leave the seed well alone. Since you as a gardener cannot be present in the garden at all times to monitor the seed, you can set up a dummy.

Do Scarecrows Even Work?

With the right scarecrow, you can suggest to the birds that a human is in the field at all times. Ideally, the birds would now leave the garden and seed alone.

But how effective is the scarecrow really and what you need to pay attention to during construction?

What is a scarecrow

Basically, the scarecrow is explained very simply. It is a silhouette, which should be very close to the human. Made by different materials and possibly still decorated with clothes, birds and other animals should be driven away from the field.

This is because animals have a natural shyness and keep a great distance from people. Thus, the birds can no longer steal the state and the plants can thrive.

Especially in Asia, the scarecrow is very popular to protect the rice fields. This form of dummy is also popular in the USA.

So the use of this method to keep birds away from fields has a long tradition worldwide. It is believed that the first scarecrows were used shortly after the introduction of gardening and farming.

Scarecrow is a very simple yet effective method to protect the garden or field.

But how exactly are they used?

What is the scarecrow used for
First and foremost, the scarecrow is used to protect your own garden from the encroachment of animals. As the name suggests, the birds are prevented from eating the seeds. But what birds are actually impressed by the scarecrow?

Drive away crows

Vogelscheuche Krähe

Whether your garden is in a rural or urban area. Crows are common everywhere and can be a threat to your garden. Crows are also considered intelligent and are hardly shy of humans anymore.

They will come into your garden and eat the seeds. However, crow droppings in particular are a high nuisance. This is because the droppings not only represent pollution, they also contain pathogens and can attack the building fabric.

The droppings can enter the food cycle via the crops grown. So it goes without saying that you don’t want crows in your garden.

To drive away the crows, you can set up various scarecrows. Kites that you fly in the air are particularly effective. At a few feet above the ground, the kites pose a natural threat and effectively scare away the crows.

Scare birds away from fruit trees

If you have a field or a kitchen garden, then you can also use a scarecrow that resembles the human silhouette. The human dummies move in the wind and fool the birds that real humans are present.

Since the birds are very shy, these will stay away from the fields and your garden.

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However, if you have fruit trees, a simple scarecrow will not be enough. To protect the trees, you can put a net around the top of the tree. However, this requires a lot of effort and the result is not very visually appealing.

To prevent the birds from attacking the fruit trees, the trees must be protected all around. A conventional scarecrow would not be sufficient for this purpose.

But there are very simple alternatives. You can decorate the fruit trees with CDs or aluminum foil and the birds will almost certainly avoid this area. The CDs and aluminum foil will blind the birds and they will not feel very comfortable on the fruit trees.

So this defense measure follows a completely different principle, which does not emphasize scaring away the birds by suggesting people nearby, but by driving them away with flashing optical objects.

The scarecrow as a decoration

Not only to scare away birds, the scarecrow is used. It has become so embedded in agricultural culture that it is also perceived as a decorative element. Especially in autumn the scarecrow is a much seen symbol.

Such scarecrows not only have a deterrent effect on birds, but these also look good. Thus, they can appear in colorful clothes and be especially decorated.

So, the scarecrow does not always have to look simple and boring. You can also beautify your garden with such a model, because a scarecrow simply belongs to a complete garden.

The effectiveness of the scarecrow

The fact that the scarecrow is successful in the fight against most birds does not need to be proven by scientific studies. After all, there is no need to make a science out of this simple approach.

The mere fact that different types of scarecrow have been used since the beginning of agriculture should be proof enough that it is indeed effective.

However, the effectiveness depends on various factors, because not every model is equally effective in the fight against unwelcome birds.


To give the most realistic impression, a scarecrow should move. To do this, you can attach various elements that move in the wind. The entire scarecrow could also rotate in the wind, creating the illusion of a lifelike model.

The more movement that can be seen, the more likely the birds will be deterred.


Birds are sometimes very intelligent and are familiar with human behaviors. The longer the scarecrow is in the same place, the more likely the birds will lose their shyness. As time goes by, you will keep moving forward and if you don’t see a threat, you will simply ignore the scarecrow. This will no longer create a deterrent effect.

To ensure effectiveness, the scarecrow should change its place more often. This will ensure that the birds do not get used to it so quickly and always face a new challenge.

In addition, it can help if the appearance is slightly changed. Different clothing and slight visual changes prevent a habituation effect.

Deterrent effects

The effectiveness of the scarecrow depends not only on the shape and silhouette. Birds can be further intimidated by additional measures.

Blinding light effects are very unpleasant for the birds. As can already be noted with the tinfoil and CDs, it helps to blind the birds. So some aluminum foil on the scarecrow can positively influence its effectiveness.

In addition, the birds can be driven away by noise. For this purpose, you can, for example, attach tin cans or attach other flutter tape. The wind will make these defenses clear.

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Not only man is considered a great enemy of birds. Other birds of prey pose an even greater threat to them. Therefore, especially scarecrow kites, as they have been presented above, are presented as the most effective means against birds.

These fly independently in the air and have a long range, in which the birds do not dare to come near the field.

Buy scarecrow

If you want to buy a scarecrow, then you should first and foremost pay attention to which birds should actually be driven away and which area will be protected.

If you only want to protect your garden, then you can already achieve a great effect with simple scarecrows. These are only placed in the ground and already convinces their deterrent effect.

Most models also need to be assembled. The advantage of buying online is that the products are somewhat cheaper and are already delivered to your home within a short time.

Here you can decide for yourself whether you want to go for a traditional scarecrow or if you would rather trust a kite that floats in the air.

The larger the garden, the more eye-catching the scarecrow should be. If you only want to protect your balcony with a scarecrow, you can go for very small models that are either placed or hung.

In the garden, on the other hand, you can reach for a “full-grown” model, which is higher than 1 1/2 meters.

When buying the scarecrow, it depends primarily on your preferences. After the fact, you can anyway expand the model at will and improve its effectiveness.

Build the scarecrow yourself

If you yourself have a skillful hand, then of course you can build a scarecrow yourself. Especially in the fall, this is a nice preparation for Halloween with your own children and can be a lot of fun.

Here you will find a very simple tutorial so that you can build such a model yourself.

Material and tools

For the construction of the scarecrow, you should stock up beforehand in the hardware store with the necessary materials. Depending on your own preference and design, the necessary utensils may vary, of course.

  • 2 wooden slats, 2 m (28 x 48 mm thick) or 1 m long (24 x 38 mm thick)
  • Burlap (approx. 80 x 80 cm)
  • coconut rope (approx. 4 m)
  • Straw
  • Binding cord
  • scissors
  • pencil
  • old clothes and hat
  • nails
  • saw
  • heavy hammer

Build the scaffold

If you have the material, you can now begin with the construction. For this you can already sharpen the lath on the ground. This will make it easier to ram it into the ground later.

Then you can start building the actual scaffold. To do this, form a cross with both wooden slats. The crossbar will later function as the scarecrow’s outstretched arm. In order to give the most realistic picture possible, the crossbar is attached about 30 to 40 centimeters below the top.

With the nail, the slats are firmly anchored and you have completed the basic framework.

Design the scarecrow

Kopf einer Vogelscheuche

However, only the fewest birds are impressed by this basic framework. Now you need to bring the scaffolding to life. This is easiest if you already anchor the scaffold firmly in the ground. With the large hammer you can ram the pointed wooden slat into the ground.

In order for the scarecrow to still be stable in windy conditions, it should be about 30 centimeters deep in the ground.

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Now you can start to recreate the rough structure of the scarecrow. To do this, take a bundle of straw and tie it to the head. Once you are satisfied with the basic shape, you can put a bag over the straw.

Now it’s time to make the scarecrow look a little more human. To do this, take old worn-out clothes and pull them over the framework. Under the shirt comes on the hands also some straw.

The whole figure can be fastened with the coconut rope and other ropes.

The fine form

Now you have basically finished building the scarecrow. Now you can add accessories. An old straw hat always looks good on the scarecrow and some flowers refine the overall look.

If the scarecrow is not only for decoration, but also to help against birds, you can now attach some aluminum foil or other dazzling elements.

With these simple steps, you can easily build a scarecrow yourself and customize it to your liking. The cost is also very low and you basically only need to buy the wooden slats at the hardware store and cut them to size if necessary.

Thus, the construction becomes a nice activity with your own children.


If you want to prevent birds from depriving you of the yield in the garden and consider the seeds as food, then you should set up a scarecrow in the garden. This has the advantage of being very inexpensive and still providing a high deterrent effect.

Birds have a natural shyness towards humans and with the scarecrow you can take advantage of this fact. A very schematic silhouette is already enough to scare away the birds.

However, if you have a large field, then you can achieve a higher effect with a kite. This rises into the air and discourages birds from entering the field.

However, over time, birds lose the shyness of this figure. Here you should provide some variety more often. Rearranging the figure or slightly changing its appearance will ensure that the deterrent effect is maintained.

You can enhance the effect with flashing or eye-catching visual features. CDs or aluminum foil dazzle the birds and they are impressed by them. Loud noises also successfully drive away the birds.

If you want to protect your garden from birds, then a scarecrow is the right tool.


  • James Jones

    Meet James Jones, a passionate gardening writer whose words bloom with the wisdom of an experienced horticulturist. With a deep-rooted love for all things green, James has dedicated his life to sharing the art and science of gardening with the world. James's words have found their way into countless publications, and his gardening insights have inspired a new generation of green thumbs. His commitment to sustainability and environmental stewardship shines through in every article he crafts. Jones James

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