It's the Thomas Hardy Jude the Obscure Experience! (except that it happens after graduation rather than while dreaming hopelessly of Christminster).
You'd have thought that they could get people to pay for the experience of being living history - spend a day living the Hardy Life! - though perhaps maintaining a regular supply might be an issue. Also, it's possible that some people might be moved, like Jude Fawley, by humanitarian feelings towards the lickle birdiez and let them eat their fill.
But would this not be another ratchet on the grim Hardyesque irony of life? - Jude comes home with his shiny degree and the only job he can get is bird-scarer.
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