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