|Young, developing milo (sorghum) seed head.|
Birds are a major cause of crop yield loss. Enormous flocks of blackbirds pass through central Mexico on their way north this time of year, leaving destruction behind.
Many farmers who plant milo use plants that yield “bitter” seeds that the birds don’t like.
But some don’t use this kind of seed, and all the fields are subject to bird damage. Here farmers hire pajareros to protect their fields. The tools of the human scare crows are shotguns with special loads, long whips, and voices. They shout “Aijo, yaijo.” crack their whips while striding around the field, and if they have them, shooting their shotguns. The sounds start about daylight, and go on all day. This is the time of year for the pajareros to work. They earn good wages, and their voices and sounds of their tools color each day.