Many of us experienced our gardens invaded by large flocks of crows, ravens, or similar birds. They tend to dominate bird life in such areas, reducing overall garden biodiversity.

In my case, crows have moved into our neighborhood big time, and they're monopolizing our bird feeders (plus making a mess on my car). Any suggestions for how to discourage the crows without scaring away the other birds (finches, cardinals, nuthatches, the occasional woodpecker or hummingbird). (Though if I can also discourage grackles that's a plus.)

I'm thinking something like a sonic unit that broadcasts a crow distress call, but the units I find online are 1) pretty expensive, for the most part, and 2) poorly documented -- not clear whether they can be set up to broadcast ONLY adult crow distress calls, vs more general calls or juvenile distress calls that are intended to attract prey.

I'd also like something (if it's an "active" scheme of any kind) that I can turn on and off, activating it only when crows are observed.

(I'm not a birder, but, based on the Wikipedia article for "American crow", the birds I'm dealing with match the appearance and call ("caw-caw-caw") of Corvus brachyrhynchos.)


Any suggestions?

Images from the next town over:

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closed as off-topic by Debbie M., Sue, J. Chomel, Niall C. Apr 4 '17 at 4:11

This question appears to be off-topic. The users who voted to close gave this specific reason:

  • "Questions on pest control that do not involve keeping pests out of a garden or landscape are off-topic. See this meta discussion for details." – Debbie M., Sue, J. Chomel, Niall C.
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  • 1
    I have to stay away from this question. Us humans only want the 'cute' stuff when in actuality there has to be predators to keep all in order. Ravens and crows are almost equal to our intelligence, smarter if we had to compete in their world existing and trying survive in our world. They mate for life. They clean up dead stuff to include our own crap. I actually FEED my ravens all our big left overs such as chicken wings, old meat loaf. They do not bother with the bird and rabbit food I feed the other animals. Ravens/crows are very beautiful and important animals esp. for urban areas. – stormy Apr 2 '17 at 22:18
  • ...AND by encouraging the lesser predators; ravens/crows they protect their territory from Eagles, Owls and the other poor higher predators. Don't forget they love grubs, slugs and other insects... – stormy Apr 2 '17 at 22:21
  • The problem is that crows move into an area where they previously were not common and they take it over, pushing out many other species and making life miserable for humans. They've been a major problem in the next town over (in SW Minnesota) for 8-10 years now, and they are beginning to move into our area. I'd like to discourage them. – Hot Licks Apr 2 '17 at 23:51
  • Don't forget 'Hitchcock' 'the Birds'. There is no way to discourage them other than do NOT leave food out even for the song birds. No trash they can get into...steel cans. Scare crows DO WORK and very much fun to make. Very useful for Halloween as well. The main thing is stop leaving any food of any kind out otherwise these brilliant birds (Jurassic Park and the Raptors?) will be around. And I for one would NOT piss them off!! Grins!! Try Scarecrows! Move them around. Put automated strings on them to keep them moving. Big sheets of brilliant fabric, blowing in the wind as well! – stormy Apr 3 '17 at 1:21
  • This is all because of us humans...we are creating these very smart birds and no way should we try to control them. You must live in a transition zone between Urban and rural. I would be very vigilant about bears, cougars and bobcat as well. Do not place kiddie play areas near the back of your property. Keep your dryer vents and all vents/chimney openings screened. They aren't the bad guys. Us greedy humans are the dumb dudes that caused this mess and many other messes. Don't do hummingbird feeders either. Not good for hummingbirds. Grow flowers they love...be vigilant. Check tracks – stormy Apr 3 '17 at 1:28

It is very difficult. Crows are one of the most intelligent birds, they recognize you, they understand what you are doing. So they will learn quick about your methods. a lot quicker then other birds.

From my experience, they are not so competitive other other birds, i.e. they eat different things. Woodpeckers and black birds have no problems with crows, and also most of the small birds (from my experience), but I'm on a "wild" environment, so I see around 10 crows. On some open fields (near landfill) they are much more numerous.

Crows are also much more urban then most other birds, so they like our trashes and they are quick to learn to eat new foods. So you can try to have a much more wild environment, remove all trashes (and pet foods) from reach of crows.

I see that my chicken drive away crows, if they land near them or near their food.

I think cats help too, by removing the prey of crows: mouses and small animals, but cats will "remove" also the small birds. (I never see a cat challenging a crow).

  • The main problem is that the crows drive the other birds away, birds that have lived in the neighborhood for 40 years. I don't know what they're feeding on -- yes, there is a little urban trash, but this is a very clean area generally, and there is very little trash left out where the crows can get it. They love my peanut and large bird feeders, though, and seem to like prowling the park nearby, presumably for worms and bugs. – Hot Licks Apr 3 '17 at 12:00
  • In the neighboring "large" town (Rochester, MN) they invaded 8-10 years ago, making the parks often uninhabitable. Mayo Clinic and others have had some luck with sonic repellents which apparently play distress calls, which is mainly why I posed this problem. (Unfortunately, in the past two years two different excellent bird stores in Rochester have closed due to developers wanting to put up big condos in their place.) – Hot Licks Apr 3 '17 at 12:03
  • 2
    Note: for trash I mean a very general concept, Biodegradable stuffs are also trash, which are eaten by crows. Also rest of salads, apple cores etc are food for crows. But if the problem is as show in the picture you recently added, I don't think you can have many answer here. Maybe biology.SE (but I think it is also off-topic, too much practical), or some local authorities about pests could help more. A so large problem cannot be solved by a single person. – Giacomo Catenazzi Apr 3 '17 at 12:35

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