do crows come to bird feeders

Crows in the trash, crows in roosts—these unmistakable black birds are now common residents of city and town.

Crows may be intelligent because, like us and other smart species, they are very social. The groups of crows in your backyard are extended families who share food and look out for each other. Some young crows help their parents care for younger siblings before breeding themselves. Crows work together to mob a threatening predator or another crow attempting to move in on the group’s territory.

A crow family can eat 40,000 grubs, caterpillars, armyworms and other insects in one nesting season. That’s a lot of insects many gardeners and farmers consider pests. These good environmental citizens also transport and store seeds, thus contributing to forest renewal. And their habit of eating carrion makes them part of nature’s cleanup crew.

American crows use almost any combination of woodland, farmland, orchard or suburban neighborhood. Like other common urban wild neighbors, they thrive in the habitat we create. Crows increased and spread when Europeans colonized North America. As agriculture and urbanization spread, so did crows.

Crows’ sociability can be hard on human neighbors where large winter roosts form in cities and towns. Crows from colder places migrate to join crows who live near the roost year-round. Communal roosts offer protection. But the noise and mess of a large winter roost in town make for hard feelings among human neighbors. Fortunately, these conflicts can be resolved humanely.

For all conflicts with crows, making the area where they are unwelcome less attractive to them will help. Trash, food waste in open compost, pet food and food put out for other wild species are all attractive to crows. Especially important: Keep crows out of food sources.

Crows are omnivores (eats both plant and animal foods) and will sometimes come to eat one food, such as insects, but then stay around or return to eat another, such as garden produce. You won’t be able to remove all potential crow food sources, but if you remove the easy meal, the crows may decide to look elsewhere.

Because crows are so smart, you’ll need to use a variety of techniques simultaneously and start the control program before birds become accustomed to feeding or roosting where you do not want them. Convincing them to leave once they are settled in is more difficult.

Keeping crows out of trash is easy: Consistently use intact and secure trash containers with tight-fitting lids. Trash bags or overfilled bins will invariably attract crows, who easily open the bags to retrieve what they want.

Crows visit trash by day; trash that is scattered overnight is the work of others—dogs or, perhaps, raccoons—but may be unjustly blamed on the crows who the homeowner sees in the morning eating the leftovers after the real culprits are gone. No matter who gets in the trash, simply putting lids on is enough to keep out crows. Make your backyard a safe place for wildlife.

No matter how big or small your outdoor space, you can create a haven for local wildlife. By providing basic needs like water, food and shelter, you can make a difference in your own backyard.

Numerous meta-analyses, or studies of studies, attempt to provide an overview. The majority of these comprise a diverse range of avian and mammalian predators, with a particular emphasis on ground-nesting shorebirds and gamebirds, for which funding for research is fueled by conservation and hunting interests.

Predation is the reason that nearly half of all bird nests fail. Corvids, which include ravens, crows, jays, and magpies, are among the most voracious nest predators, stealing the eggs and chicks of other birds. Squirrels and rats are also major nest predators. Open cup nesters are especially vulnerable.

Jokimäki and Huhta. 2000. Bird abundance and artificial nest predation along an urban gradient The Condor.

Shutt and Lees. 2021. Killing with kindness: Does broad, generalized wildlife provisioning support or undermine efforts to conserve biodiversity? Biological Conservation

According to Stoate and Szczur (1994), the removal of corvids significantly increased the success of thrushes and chaffinches hatching. Certain species (such as Dunnock, Yellowhammer, and others) that nest in thickets or on the ground were not impacted by corvids.

Lowering the amount of outdoor lighting could deter crows from congregating there. Turn off the outside lights, use floor-level lights, or install a motion-activated light trigger that activates the lights only when a person walks into the space. Acknowledging the importance of mature trees, selective pruning and thinning can lessen the need for crows.

In one nesting season, a family of crows can consume 40,000 grubs, caterpillars, armyworms, and other insects. That is a large number of insects that many farmers and gardeners view as pests. In addition to transporting and storing seeds, these conscientious environmentalists support the regrowth of forests. Additionally, because they eat carrion, they contribute to nature’s cleanup crew.

When fall arrives, crows build massive roosts that they remain in until early spring, when they move back to their breeding grounds. When northern migrants increase local crow populations, these winter roosts can get exceptionally big. Because these birds migrate south for the winter, large roosts may only be found in the summer and fall in northern areas of the United States and Canada. There are some year-round roosts in California.

When big winter roosts form in cities and towns, crows’ gregarious nature can be difficult for human neighbors to deal with. Crows that migrate from colder regions join crows that are year-round residents close to the roost. Communal roosts offer protection. However, the mess and noise of a sizable winter roost in the town cause animosity between human neighbors. Fortunately, these conflicts can be resolved humanely.

Crows in the trash, crows in their roosts: these distinctive black birds are now common city and town dwellers.


Do bird feeders attract crows?

If you find their antics fascinating, you might want to learn how to attract crows to your yard. They aren’t typically attracted to bird feeders, but there are other ways to invite crows to your outdoor space.

Do crows scare other birds away from feeders?

Will Crows Scare Off Other Birds? Yes, with their huge size and screeching sound, crows can scare away other birds merely by flying over them. Birds such as cardinals, sparrows, blue jays, mourning doves, and robins are easily scared by crows.

How can I keep crows away from my bird feeder?

Your best strategy will be to exclude or block them from reaching the food. Retailers sell various designs, with the keywords being caged feeders. Another alternative is to try using 2″x4″ welded wire to retrofit a cage around your existing feeders, assuming they’re hanging.

Is it a good idea to feed crows?

Feeding them may depress other bird populations. Corvids are part of the natural ecosystem, but the problem goes beyond “natural” because many corvid populations are artificially higher due to anthropogenic food subsidies – human garbage, bird feeders, scraps, etc.