Florida’s Newest Scarecrows
By: Kyle Grammatica
When you picture a scarecrow do you see a straw body dressed in tattered clothes used to protect farms from birds? Northeast Florida now has a new type of scarecrow to protect imperiled birds thanks to a $45,517 grant from the Foundation.
These scarecrows (or crow effigies) are previously deceased crows placed around the nesting sites of protected birds that are easy targets for predators, like least terns and American oystercatchers. This novel approach to predator management has thus far been effective, so much so that biologists are planning to use it in future nesting seasons. In recent years nesting in the region has suffered from an overabundance of predation, with crows playing a major role.
The Foundation’s grant also funded the purchase of electric fences, bird spikes, traps, and cover structures, warding off coyotes, raccoons, and owls. In addition to the predator deterrents, the grant was used to hire predation management biologist Gabrielle Cole.
Although the project has not been completed, early analysis suggests that there has been an increase in nesting success at sites that used crow effigies and other predation management tools. In fact, many of the sites are reporting their highest numbers of fledglings in years!
To help us fund innovative projects like this one, purchase our Conserve Wildlife plate from your local tax collector’s office.