While we all know and are intimately familiar with the joys of scaring small children, an often under-appreciated art deals with the terrifying of our black feathered friends, crows.
Of course scaring crows either to further your social rights agenda or protect your crops is harder than it first appears, and more than one method surfaced over the years. Take the people of Appalachia for example, who strung up dead crows by their feet as a warning to any future crows that might impose. Not surprisingly, this method worked less than ideally because–like most animals–crows are not capable of rational thought.
Other wise ideas involved feeding the crows a mixture of herbs and corn seeds that effectively functioned like bath salts for birds and freaked the living bejeezus out of all their crow friends and building a fake person out of sticks, hay, and flannel. The latter idea stuck.
Before Scarecrows got all gimicky and stuff, farmers would shoot a handful of crows then give the gun to the scarecrow to finish the job. The scarecrow rarely did, but the threat usually kept the dastardly birds on edge all the same. Thankfully the practice ended well before the filming of Jeepers Creepers 2, which would likely have been a much shorter, less interesting (if you can believe it) movie.
Since then, scarecrows have grown in popularity. A scarecrow famously complains about not having a brain in the Wizard of Oz.
Batman fights a guy named Scarecrow that likes to be a psychologist on some days, a terrorist on others, a vigilante on weekends, and a judge when it’s snowing outside. (more on the winter habits of scarecrows a bit later)
Finally we have the single most successful real-life scarecrow at all, a literary mind that rose so successfully through the tightly knit ranks of the magazine industry to become an editor for one issue of Loaded.
Now back to that thing about winter habits of scarecrows. What was that all about?
Well, it’s simple really. We always associate scarecrows with fall and Halloween, but the truth is that scarecrows are erected in the spring, when farmers are planting crops. When autumn rolls around, scarecrows are stretching their arms from a long year’s work and getting ready to spend the next three months. Of course, they may be relegated to the holiday of Halloween because things that hibernate are terrifying.
Don’t believe me?
- The Scarecrow and the Vulture (tellmeastorymommy.com)
- Batman Vs. Scarecrow (bananascoop.com)
- Wordless Wednesday – Scarecrow (create-with-joy.com)
- When summer ends, can scarecrows be far behind? (independentmail.com)