To Defeat Geese, Canadians Try Laser Scarecrows

Behold my Oz-some power

Scarecrow
Scarecrow
From Dayton Spice Mills Co. Now imagine, instead of this, lasers.Victorian Trade Cards Collection, via Wikimedia Commons

Scarecrows are a pretty straightforward piece of technology. Make a fake person, stand them in the field, spook birds, keep them from eating crops. It’s a simple, timeless recipe, easy to do without any brains. What if, though, a farmer wanted to improve on a scarecrow? The answer, obviously, is lasers.

Definitely, 100 percent, lasers.

At least, that's the answer from a team of researchers at the University of Victoria in British Columbia. The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation reports:

"What we've done is created a device that automatically moves that laser beam across a specified target area — in this case, your field — at regular intervals all night long." [fourth year mechanical engineering student Peter] Rashleigh says the device is very low power — even less powerful than most hand-held laser pointers used during presentations — and it can shut itself off to make sure planes aren't impacted. He says farmers just need to program the corners of their fields for the device, and then it does the rest.

The team is preparing to test their prototype on Saanich Peninsula. Hopefully the lasers can succeed where existing scarecrows have so far failed, in scaring geese away from crops.

Read more about the laser scarecrow here.