Do you want to use inflatable scarecrows to help prevent bird damage in your orchard?

Do you want to use inflatable scarecrows to help prevent bird damage in your orchard?

Do you want birds in your orchard or not? We at Orchard People encourage orchardists to install birdhouses in their orchards as a way of attracting bug-eating bluebirds or tree swallows to their orchards. Each day these birds will chow down on thousands of flying pests that can ruin the fruit on your growing trees.

And yet, anyone who grows fruit knows that birds can also be a nuisance in an orchard, as they peck away at your growing fruit. So we do what we can to protect the trees, draping netting over them, or some even play recordings of bird distress calls to scare them away.

Now, some growers  have found a new solution that was featured in Small Farm Canada Magazine this winter (January February 2014). Grape growers in New York State have discovered that dancing, inflatable scarecrows – the same type that you see at car dealerships – scare away birds.

Cornell University has a great article on bird management strategies on its website that show the extent of the damage birds can cause and how to prevent it.

For farmers who lose thousands of dollars a year as a result of bird damage, this might be a great idea. But what do you think? Do birds belong in our orchards or not?