Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Peter Mitchell's Scarecrows

Peter Mitchell is a British photographer, born 1948, who specializes in color pictures of ordinary things. For decades he has been photographing the scarecrows in fields around his native Leeds.

I suppose these are a sort of folk art, since the can't have much impact on crows in the immense fields of modern agriculture. Mitchell kept these pictures to himself for many years, thinking nobody else would be interested, but somebody persuaded him otherwise and now there is a gallery show and a new book.

Anyway, they are a delight. More here and here.


G. Verloren said...

I know there's a tradition of scarecrows, but is there any evidence at all that they actually work? Crows are wickedly smart birds, and I have a hard time imagining these props and contraptions would actully bother them and incite them to flee, rather than arouse curiosity and a desire to investigate.

Other, notably duller birds I could see this working on, but not crows.

John said...

If crows regularly encounter real people chasing them out of fields, or hunting them, then a scarecrow can make them cautious, just as a dummy of a sleeping tiger might make a person cautious. Crows eventually figure out that it is a dummy, but it may delay their advances for some time. But crows who have no reason to fear people will not be bothered.