After losing some of our naturally hatched ducklings to hawks, I decided we needed a “guard” system of some kind. Since we didn’t want another dog (training would take too long to save the ducklings we have left) I had to look for something immediate that might have at least a chance of working.
A quick Google search said a scarecrow would work. Scarecrows are meant to look big and imposing and hawks often mistake them as predators and will stay away from them. I found that resonate since I noticed when I am outside, the hawks tend to stay further away from our duck yard. When I watch out the window I notice they like to circle over the littlest ducks or ducklings.
So, I decided to come up with a scarecrow, build it, and stick it in the duck yard. So far, the hawks have been keeping their distance, but it has only been up for a day now. Once the weather cools off and the hawks migrate toward their breeding grounds for winter, we will remove the scarecrow.
What You’ll Need
It was an easy build, but it did take me some time to get it right. Many of these items can be found around the house, but some links to Amazon were provided for demonstration or for the readers’ convenience.
Here is what I used:
To make it, start with a structure, by screwing the two rods together. I had to put the shirt on my dowel rod first because we didn’t have an old button-up flannel. After that, this is my step-by-step guide. It’s a long video because I wanted to get everything in it so I could work through any hang-ups and make someone else’s build easier.
A lot of this build was trial and error. It’s also all about personal preference. For example, if you like the head drooping more, leave it drooping. I wanted a more upright scarecrow. I liked the hay/straw sticking out of the pants, but you can shove that in and tie it off or sew it shut if you want. You can do whatever you want when you make your own scarecrow! My suggestion is to just keep standing it up in between working on the different parts of the scarecrow. That way you are able to see your progress and make any aesthetic changes you want. My other suggestion is to use men’s clothes to make sure it’s big enough to scare away any hawks.
And they should work to keep at least smaller birds of prey away from ducks or chickens. Because of their smaller size, hawks are much easier to simply “scare” away than other birds of prey. T
There are two types of deterrents you can use to keep hawks away. The first type is environmental. Prune branches and ensure the hawk has nowhere to perch. That works well if you don’t have fencing for them to perch on. Since we have ducks fenced in, and the hawks like to perch on the fence, that suggestion is null and void for us. Since we cannot remove the fence, we had to use a physical deterrent.
Physical deterrents are also useful. Building a scarecrow or placing a large owl statue (my owl skeleton may work, we’ll see) in the yard will fool the hawk into thinking a predator might be present. Just be sure to move this physical deterrent around occasionally, as hawks are highly intelligent and will notice if the deterrent remains stationary for more than a couple of days.
The only issue is going to be finding new places to put our scarecrow, but the ducks don’t seem to mind it at all and we should be able to just pull the T-post, with scarecrow attached, out of the ground and move it to the other side of the duck pond.
If you don’t have hawks or ducks, this could be a fun autumn project to do too! Get the kids involved and let them help you stuff a scarecrow!