The Scarecrow as an Indicator of Changes in the Cultural Heritage of Rural Poland
2. Literature Review: Cultural Heritage and Sustainability
2.1. The Scarecrow as a Part of Cultural Heritage of Rural Areas
Stories, Legends, and Customs
2.2. Scarecrows of the 21st Century
2.2.1. High-Tech Scarecrow
2.2.2. Laser Scarecrows
2.2.3. Smart Scarecrow
2.2.4. Three-Dimensional Decoys
2.3. Who Cares about Scarecrows?
3. Materials and Methods
- The scarecrow takes on the form of a human figure. He is dressed in worn-out clothes. His task was to deter animals: “he was banging and rustling”.
- Two poles nailed together to form the shape of the cross, rammed into the ground. A head of straw donning a hat. The whole was covered with a worn-out shirt, filled with straw to give him the human shape, and tied around with a worn-out belt or a piece of rope. Placed in a cereal or maize field, their task was to deter birds.
- Two poles nailed together to form a cross, wrapped in rags and crowned with a hat. They were primarily used to scare birds away.
- Two rods or poles nailed together to form a cross—“movable and rustling”.
- A friendly figure remembered from childhood when parents used to set him up in a cultivated field. He triggers positive associations since its task was to protect crops against pests.
- The scarecrow is made of a “pole” stuck into the ground, on which old rags and aluminium cans filled with stones are hung. They are supposed to produce sounds in the gusts of wind.
- Two poles nailed together to form a cross, on which worn-out clothes and noise-producing objects have been hung.
- A figure made of planks nailed together, dressed in old rags. He usually wears a hat. Farmers use scarecrows in the belief that they will fulfil their function.
- The scarecrow deters pests, primarily birds. Scarecrows were used in the cultivation of millet but this crop is no longer grown. Used to protect grapes against sparrows. The scarecrow is made up of old clothes, straw, a hat and a belt, in the fashion of a human.
- The scarecrow is an element of agricultural landscape. His task is to deter animals, but he is not very effective.
- Scarecrows have always been associated with agriculture; they scared birds away. The scarecrow, dressed in a shabby old coat, was designed to rustle and swing in the wind.
- The scarecrow is a puppet, a wooden cross, a hat, and small bells. An item of red was used to protect against spells and ensure an abundant harvest.
- The scarecrow is intended to scare animals away. He is made of crossed poles, dressed in old clothes and a hat; it is difficult to determine whether he is effective.
- Sometimes they are found in cultivated fields where they are set up with the intention to deter birds. Scarecrows are most commonly used in small farms.
- They stand in the field and scare “passers-by lost in thought” more than animals, which are no longer afraid of humans. Scarecrows are rare because there are fewer and fewer cultivated fields.
- Scarecrows are sometimes placed in a field, as “something needs to be moving in the field, which keeps animals at a distance”. The scarecrow, however, has limited effectiveness because animals get accustomed to him. Scarecrows fail to fulfil their function because “the wild boars are not scared of them”.
- Fewer and fewer scarecrows are currently erected since they are ineffective. More effective methods, e.g., putting up fences, are applied. Animals are not afraid of scarecrows. In addition, scaring sound devices that emit loud noises, shots, or explosions as well as mechanical, metal, or revolving scarers are used.
- Scarecrows are not used. Other methods of repellence are not employed either as cropland has disappeared. Large wild boar population and unprofitable agricultural production have resulted in the abandonment of crop cultivation. The only form of protection against animals is fencing that needs to be additionally reinforced, and a controlled reduction in the population.
- The area of land under crops has significantly decreased. Furthermore, there are fewer birds, in particular sparrows, and more wild boars that are not afraid of scarecrows. Only coniferous trees are left in forests. There are no oak trees and therefore, no food for wild boars that look for it in cultivated fields and home gardens. At the same time, wild boars are not afraid of noise, dogs, or humans. They are intelligent and adapt quickly. Only solid fences are sometimes effective.
- Scarecrows are seldom used as there are few fields under crops. Scarecrows are found more often in the old part of the village.
- Scarecrows are used, but there are fewer of them. The tradition of erecting scarecrows is disappearing. However, in certain families it has been continued for generations: “the scarecrow should be there, even if he is not very much effective”. Before, scarecrows used to be commonly found, and they were made with care.
- In the days of old, each farmer made scarecrows himself. Older people still set up scarecrows with the conviction that they fulfil their role. However, there are increasingly fewer scarecrows: “there are fewer cultivated fields, therefore there are fewer scarecrows”. Wild animals are not afraid of them”.
- “Tramps” (as scarecrows used to be called in the commune of Iwkowa) were tied up to a tree at night, usually on Easter Monday, near the house of a farmer who had a marriageable daughter. “Tramps” were hung up in locations where there were maidens enjoying bachelors’ interest. Therefore, it somehow enhanced the farmer’s prestige.
- In the days of old (a term used to refer to the post-war years until the end of the 20th century), there was a ritual of setting up the so-called “bogeyman”. This was a way of putting a spell. The “bogeyman” was a “malicious character” tied in a growing cereal crop; the ritual involved weaving a human figure in living cereals. The task of a farmer who has noticed the “bogeyman” in the cereal field was to untie or unknot it. There was a superstition that if the farmer had failed to do so, a misfortune, e.g., crop failure, would have befallen the farm.
- According to old beliefs, the scarecrow should be adorned with a red ribbon or any other red item, e.g., a feather stuck in the hat, or a scarf wrapped around his head. The item of red was supposed to counteract the so-called “spells”.
The Condition and Prospects of the Development of Agriculture in the Lesser Poland Region of Poland
Conflicts of Interest
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|Age Range||Functions Served||Educational Background||The Area of Cultivated Land Owned (ha)|
|50–60||Chairperson of the Local Action Group Association “KwartetnaPrzedgórzu”||Master’s degree||1|
|50–60||Chairperson of the Country Housewives’’ Association in Jadowniki; instructor at the Municipal Cultural Centre||secondary technical||0.5|
|50–60||Chairperson of the Union of Polish Teachers in the district; head of the Regional Group ‘KrakowiacyZiemiBrzeskiej’||Master’s degree||N/A|
|>60||President of the Volunteer Fire Service in Wokowice; President of the Board of Volunteer Fire Service Communal Division||mechanical technician||N/A|
|50–60||Szczepanów Village Leader; Brzesko councillor||Commodity technician||0.37|
|>60||Head of the Song and Dance Ensemble ‘Porębianie’; Chairperson of the Country Housewives’ Association||agricultural technician||0.2|
|50–60||Elective member of the local government; Brzesko Commune Deputy Mayor||Master’s degree||0.3|
|30–40||Brzesk Municipal Council employee||Master’s degree||0.5|
|>60||Conservator of a local historic church in Iwkowa on a wooden architecture trail||vocational (construction) education||0.1|
|30–40||Commune Official for local government affairs (promotion, tourism, etc.)||Master’s degree||0.3|
|50–60||Iwkowa Commune Head||Master’s degree||5|
|40–50||Iwkowa Public Library employee||Master’s degree||0.01|
|50–60||An accountant at the Iwkowa Commune Office. Agritourism farm manager||Master’s degree||1.5|
|30–40||Eco-advisor at the Iwkowa Commune Office||Master’s degree||6|
|30–40||Cultural manager at the Communal Cultural Centre||Master’s degree||0.03|
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Król, K.; Kao, R.; Hernik, J. The Scarecrow as an Indicator of Changes in the Cultural Heritage of Rural Poland. Sustainability 2019, 11, 6857. https://doi.org/10.3390/su11236857
Król K, Kao R, Hernik J. The Scarecrow as an Indicator of Changes in the Cultural Heritage of Rural Poland. Sustainability. 2019; 11(23):6857. https://doi.org/10.3390/su11236857Chicago/Turabian Style
Król, Karol, Robert Kao, and Józef Hernik. 2019. "The Scarecrow as an Indicator of Changes in the Cultural Heritage of Rural Poland" Sustainability 11, no. 23: 6857. https://doi.org/10.3390/su11236857