Crows Pest Control
Birds are everywhere sharing the world with us and have adapted to live alongside us as we developed homes and cities. Take the pigeon, once a rook bird who built homes on cliff faces, now they live in cities where they enjoy high rises and steep buildings which look to them like cliffs. The Crow is another bird that has become accustomed to humans and has begun to become unwelcome in some areas.
The Crow is a large sized animal, usually all black in color, sometimes mistaken for ravens which are larger. They are found throughout the United States and are social bird living in communities that grow as large as the feeding and nesting area. They thrive in the urban areas humans have made.
Crows breed in spring in small family groups and then migrate south. They can be found over-wintering in the United States in urban areas. In this roosting period, they can number in the thousands to tens of thousands. They are known as generalists due to the ability to use any environment for roosting, as long as their needs are met.
They are purported to be intelligent due to their social behavior. Groups of crows are normally interrelated and will mob other invading birds. Some nuclear families stay together to help rear new hatchlings until the earlier siblings are mated.
Crows are interesting to watch but their intelligence and ability to use any area for food sources can be a problem to homeowners and particularly to gardeners and farms. Crows originally roosted in suburban areas but have taken to urban life and often roost in a town or city and flock to surrounding country to eat.
Crows eat insects and plant food for the majority of their diet. However, they can and will almost anything if they need to, including carrion. This is a help since they are part of a natural clean-up cycle and in theory they will keep garden and farm pests at bay. However, they are also bold animals. They readily steal corn and other farm seedlings will eat from garbage cans and can be problematic if nesting in large groups.
The birds are omnivores and tend to flock. They prefer to roost in tall trees rather than open areas. They will gather in extremely large groups for roosting or in feeding areas. They are more of an annoyance than other birds and can even cause damage so they can be a real nuisance to homeowners.
Their feces, which builds up under trees and other roosts is an unwanted and unwelcome mess in many urban areas. They can intimidate songbirds and will even eat pet food if it's outside. They will attack and kill smaller birds so it's best to have feeders and birdhouses for songbirds built to prevent crows from perching and stealing young or seed of the preferred songbird.
Crows are protected under the federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act. The management of the crow roosts in urban areas can't include some aspects of eradication like killing them. Management is difficult due to their ability to learn.
Some effective methods to prevent crop damage or garden theft includes the scarecrow, named for the bird. Statues and other standing images can work as well. It's best to move the scarecrow because again, crows are intelligent and will eventually figure out that the statue is not threatening.
Another effective option is to hang an effigy of a dead crow. The crows will not roost where it seems potentially dangerous to their own kind. However, like the scarecrow, the effigy should be moved every few days so they don't get used to it.
Management by scare is effective if done properly. Early in season when the crows are just planning to roost, making continual noise will disturb them and often they will look elsewhere for a roosting area.
Crops in the garden should be covered and trash cans secured. There are normally local groups to contact when crow damage begins to build up. This can include the noise level which can reach disturbing levels when the crows are grouped in large masses. It is not common that crows damage houses but the buildup of feces and debris on structures and power lines can shorten the life of household structures.
Although they sound like a major problem, crows are really only a serious concern to farmers when seedlings are young. Harassing the crows early in the nesting or roosting season seems to be effective but it requires effort. Once seedlings in the garden or farm reach a certain height, crows are unable to steal them from the soil and become less of a pest to the garden.
They may still remain a waste and noise hazard though. It's extremely difficult to eradicate the crow populations because they learn so rapidly. The intelligence that makes them entertaining to watch or learn about also gives them an edge when homeowners use scare tactics. They can't be poisoned and trapping can draw more crows to the area so a homeowner will need to be vigilant in harassing the birds early in the season.
Crows are a part of the environment and as such, need to be lived with. Due to their fast learning ability, these flocks can be difficult to manage. With their federal protection status, it's important to come up with innovative ways to manage bird populations.
Combinations of the above methods work best rather than one simple or single technique. If there is a problem with the crow population in an area, local bird management companies should be contacted for help.