URI Laser Scarecrow Project
Sweet corn ear damaged by crows. Photo courtesy of Nora Lewis, URI
Birds are a big problem for farmers. Blackbirds and starlings damage the corn. Orioles eat the grapes. Geese pull up the rye seedlings, leaving bare soil to erode in winter rains. Peri-urban areas contain abundant habitat for crop-damaging birds, while close proximity to neighbors limits farmers' bird control options. Researchers with the University of Rhode Island Vegetable Program began testing strategies for keeping birds out of sweet corn fields, as farmers' use of bird scare guns creates noise pollution and conflict with neighbors. Laser scarecrows, which use moving beams of green light, turned out to be extremely effective. We decided to share the plans for our research laser scarecrows, since farmer-friendly commercial units are not readily available. Plans on this website may be freely used to make laser scarecrows for personal use. If you are interested in manufacturing laser scarecrows for sale, please contact us to discuss licensing of the intellectual property.