For the birds
Arable farmers are constantly looking for new ways to scare birds from their valuable crops.
An Argentinian winery recently conducted a trial and found that, in three months, more than £25,000 of damage was done by birds in just one field. Obviously, this level of damage is far above that which could potentially be dealt to a British farmer growing broccoli or cauliflower, but the bottom line is the bottom line.
Historically, scarecrows and more recently gas cannons have been used to keep flocks of marauding wood pigeons, collared doves, jays, blackbirds and finches away. The problem with this is that certain birds are clever and become used to these deterrents if no variation is introduced.
The most obvious and effective way to introduce variation is for someone to physically go into the field and shoot to scare. But this takes them away from another job, reducing the farm’s productivity.
This month’s challenge is to come up with a technological way to keep ravenous flocks of birds off farmers’ crops, as a solution to the problems they pose “remains elusive”, according to the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO). Most importantly, your solution needs to be humane, must not contain any harmful chemicals but must be inconsistent with its scares to keep those pesky birds on their toes.
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Coffee Time Challenge is just a bit of fun, but it is based on a real engineering solution. If you send in your ideas by using the
comment button below, we can add your solution as an alternative – perhaps something funny, practical, cheap or, of course,