Watch a Farm Use a Laser Instead of Scarecrows to Deter Birds

Saturday, 28 October 2017 - 4:21PM
Technology
Saturday, 28 October 2017 - 4:21PM
Watch a Farm Use a Laser Instead of Scarecrows to Deter Birds
YouTube/Bird Control Group
When you think about the "farm of tomorrow," you might think about automated harvests, genetically modified crops, etc. You probably don't think of a laser-targeting "scarecrow" which chases off birds. 

But in a way, that's exactly what farms like Meduri Farms in Oregon, and Summerhill Road Vineyard in Australia, are doing in order to keep robins and starlings away from their crops. Meduri, which primarily grows fruits like blueberries, was losing almost a quarter of its fruit each year to invading birds who wanted first pick of the harvest. And other tactics, like throwing netting over the crops, is still a huge and costly effort. 

They eventually turned to a company which had the strange idea of using non-harmful lasers to scare off birds. It's obviously still costly because it's a giant laser, but the company deals in machines which can automatically target birds' locations, and shoot a bright green laser in their direction to scare them off until they're out of range of both the laser, and the farm.

See the "Agrilaser Autonomic" in action below at Summerhill Road. Disclaimer: no birds are hurt in the following video, as it's not that kind of laser. But the crows can't tell the difference, so they fly off all the same.



The device is also solar-powered, which makes it handy to leave out in the fields all day. Between that and it's auto-targeting system, it does seem a lot like a robotic scarecrow which is more active than the normal, anthropomorphic pile of straw that gets dressed up like a farmer. If you could find a way to place a straw hat on the laser without messing up its targeting system, it'd really feel complete.

The fact that it doesn't actually fry the birds either is beneficial, since the average farmer probably doesn't want half-cooked poultry raining down on their harvest. As more dangerous lasers become more common in the medical field and military fields, this one is relatively harmless by comparison. Like a supercharged laser pointer.

So next time you're on a farm and don't see anything to deter the birds, just make sure there's not a laser device pointed at you, attempting to figure out whether or not you're a hungry crow.
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