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C. Crop Protection that's Worth Crowing About

Narrator: This is Science Today. Hungry crows can be a major threat to almond crops, so researchers at the University of California, Davis have developed a simple, cost-efficient device to make this problem fly away. Study leader Michael Delwiche says the battery-operated electronic unit plays four different recordings of crow distress calls at timed intervals to spook the real ones away from the almond crops.

Delwiche: The unit was designed to turn on during the day, to shut off at night, so that it had good power management. And it's on a stainless steel hook and you hang it on a branch on the almond tree at about, anywhere from four to six feet and it'll run easily two months without needing recharge.

Narrator: In California almond orchards, Delwiche says crows can cause up to a thousand dollars per acre in crop damage in a single season.

Delwiche: In some orchards, they are a real problem. They can actually come in and virtually decimate the crop. That really was sort of the precipitating factor for this research.

Narrator: Broadcast distress calls have been used for over a decade to chase away crows, but this device was designed to save power and prevent the birds from getting used to the calls. For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.