Crows are intelligent, nocturnal birds that can be found in many places around the world. They are often seen scavenging for food on sidewalks and roadways, but they also play an important role in ecosystems as a pest control agent.
By eating insects and small animals. In fact, crows teach other species of birds – including their young- how to eat these pests! Many cultures also consider crows as a symbol for death or bad luck. This is primarily because they are often seen around the scene of car accidents that have just occurred!
However, crows are also incredibly intelligent, social creatures. If you pay attention to where they land or look at them when they fly overhead, you notice that crows often communicate with each other through a series of specific chirps and sounds.
Humans often consider crows pests because of their intelligence and resourcefulness for obtaining food, but there is more to these creatures than meets the eye!
In this blog post, I will discuss how you can befriend your local crow population so that they stop being pesky pests and become your best friends.
Befriending Crows: Pros and Cons
Befriending crows can be a rewarding activity, but it can also spiral out of control and turn into nightmare fuel. As long as you do it properly, you have nothing to fear. Just follow the guide you’ll find later on in this article, and you’ll be fine.
Let’s see the advantages and disadvantages of befriending crows.
The Advantages of Befriending Crows
You can find uplifting stories online of crows helping the humans that feed them. For example, if you keep chickens, they could warn you of other predator birds getting too close.
Sometimes they also leave gifts to their feeders. Shiny objects attract crowds, so a crow may drop something shiny in your hands.
They are smart and can be trained to do complex tasks! The Crow Research Group has been training them to pick up trash at parks for over twenty years now.
Crows have even been taught how to use tools that help them find food – such as the example below, where a crow learned how to use the color blue as a signal for food.
Crows are very social creatures, and we can teach them to recognize individual humans. If you befriend them, chances are that your local creeper will show up at your window or on your shoulder!
In fact, if you train them from an early age, you can end up with a pet crow.
Warning: Having a pet crow without a license is illegal in many states, so be careful. It’s best to keep them as friends. You don’t want to tame one and put it in a cage. They’re wild animals, after all. But you can get a permit for one.
The Disadvantages of Befriending Crows
It is not uncommon for crows to peck at your car or house windows. This is because they want the food inside!
Crows are also very territorial, and will make noise when other birds land in their territory – or even when you walk too close to their nests.
Crows will also mob and harass other birds that they consider a threat, such as owls or hawks. This behavior is often mistaken for an attack by humans because crows can be very loud and aggressive! If your local crow population attacks each other in this way, it may be time to invest in some earplugs.
Ultimately, crows are like any other animal – they will behave differently based on their environment and experiences with humans!
You need to decide for yourself if the benefits of befriending them outweigh the disadvantages. If you want a pet crow or just appreciate watching them fly overhead, then you should go for it!
How to Befriend a Crow: A Guide
Befriending a crow is mostly a matter of patience. But before we get into the details, a word of warning.
These strategies are way more likely to work on city crows rather than those who live in rural areas. City crows are already used to being around humans, and know what to expect from them.
Rural crows see humans as a threat. They don’t know what humans do; they think they can’t trust us. It’s still possible to befriend them. It’s going to be harder though.
If you live in the city, chances are that there is already a crow who has taken an interest in your yard.
To get them to trust you, it’s important to have patience and not scare them away with sudden movements or loud noises. If they aren’t used to humans yet, then don’t approach immediately. They will probably fly away.
Give them Food
Introduce yourself to the crow with a handful of food, such as peanuts or breadcrumbs. This is called ‘flag waving’. They will see you and your offering together and learn that humans are not always dangerous! Don’t expect them to come flying in from miles away though – this method takes time. You need at least a week before they will trust you.
You can also train them to come by placing food in your hand and putting it on the ground or on top of something.
Once they visit you regularly (and only if they do) then bring out some shiny objects such as bottle caps! If they drop one at your feet, reward them with a treat.
This will make it more likely that they approach you in the future when they find shiny objects.
remember: Crows like to collect things and stash away their treasures for later… so don’t be surprised if one day your prized possession goes missing because of this strategy.
Editor’s note: It’s better to stick to a routine when feeding crows. They are very intelligent creatures, and can recognize patterns and stimuli. You are creating what we call a Pavlovian response. Basically, the crows will associate you with food, so whenever they see you, they’ll start coming and following you around.
Place a Bird Bath in Your Yard
This only applies if you’re luring the crows in your yard, or any place where you can install a bird bath.
Once the birds trust you and visiting you regularly, it’s time to attract them.
Crows are attracted to bird baths because they provide water for drinking and bathing. Place it in a shaded area, or you could also add some gravel (or even marbles) at the bottom of the bath where birds can stand when getting their feathers wet.
The addition of rocks or marbles will also make the bath more stable, and thus safer for the birds.
Give them a place to Roost
If you can offer your crows a safe perch from which they can observe their surroundings during the night – then all of this effort will pay off. You should try planting some trees or bushes near where you want them to roost. You can also attach a high branch in your yard for this purpose, but make sure there are no potential predators who could attack the crows at night when they sleep.
Don’t be surprised if you notice more and more crows around your house – it’s likely that they all come from different areas, so you might see different crows. This happens because crows communicate between each other. News spread around fast in the crow realm. Not unlike with us humans.
Stay at a Distance
Don’t make the mistake of trying to get too close to crows. They will think you’re a threat and they’ll be on their guard when around you.
Keep your movements slow and relaxed, don’t gesture wildly or point at them.
Don’t touch or pet the crows even if it seems like one is allowing this – this means nothing! Crows only allow humans to get close because they think we have food for them. They know plenty of humans that do not follow through on their promises.
Keep yourself at a respectful distance, but don’t just drop food, then leave. Stay in the area and observe the crows eat or fly away with the food you’ve given them. You want the crows to understand you are the food provider, and that they can trust you.
Don’t Overfeed Them
One of the biggest problems with feeding crows is that it’s very easy to overdo it and end up creating a nuisance for yourself as well as for other people. Crows may become aggressive if they feel you’re trying to feed them too much, or they might drop all the food you leave at their feet on the street. This will attract other crows who are not yours, which can become a problem for people living in your area.
Don’t overfeed them even if they seem hungry. You don’t want to create an expectation where they come looking for constant handouts from you every day.
Crows are very smart and they learn quickly. If you follow these steps, in no time you’ll be able to develop a beautiful relationship with your local crows!
Avoid Direct Eye Contact
Don’t stare at the birds in the eyes. This can be seen as a challenge, and they might even think you’re trying to hypnotize them.
Keep your gaze somewhat downward when in the presence of crows – this is respectful for them.
Crows are smart birds. They quickly learn about people. It’s likely that if you follow these steps to befriending a crow, in no time you’ll be able to develop a beautiful relationship with your local crows.
The important thing is not to get discouraged when the first few attempts don’t work out. Crows are intelligent birds, so it can take some time before they warm up to you.
One of the most important things you can do is to provide food, water and shelter for them regularly. Once they understand your yard is a safe place where they have everything they need – it’s just a matter of time until their trust in you blossoms into something beautiful.
Don’t stare at crows or make direct eye contact with them. This can be seen as a threat and they’ll stay away from you.
Stay at a safe distance so the crows aren’t afraid of your presence, but don’t drop food, then leave – if they think you will not provide them with more food in the future, this will hurt their trust in you.
Be patient and respectful. You’ll be rewarded with a friendship that’s going to last for a lifetime. Sure, they will not listen to you venting about your latest romantic misadventures. But they’ll always be there to protect your yard and take care of the surrounding area.
What more could you ask for?