Crows can be one of the most common and most annoying animals to have around your home and garden. While they may seem non-bothersome, in the right conditions, they can easily cause damages or disturbances to you, your garden, or even your pets.
In general, crows dislike loud, rambling, clangy, or rattling sounds. They do not enjoy things capable of frightening them or catching them off guard, because they highly value their safety. In addition to this, there are other ways to deter crows, like repelling them visually with shiny objects.
Read on to learn more about why crows may gather around your home, the reasons you should look into repelling them, and some simple ways you can accomplish this task.
Why Crows Are Gathering On Your Property
To answer the question of how to repel crows, we first have to discuss what causes them to gather.
There are several reasons crows may want to gather. One of the main reasons which most people support is to sleep. It is easy to spot because they are in large clumps on stationary objects like roofs or tree branches.
One reason they may swarm to sleep in is because of collective warmth, especially during the winter months. In addition, the large numbers could provide a sense of security to the birds, as they can easily see and warn each other about incoming dangers in the area.
While these are all very good biological reasons to gather, they may not explain what is happening near you. If you live in a semi-populated neighborhood, human activity may cause them to gather.
Most times, people might accidentally leave out food, or may even feed the crows by hand. This may sound wild, but lots of people do it. In that case, the crows will find this food and frequently swarm the area in search of it.
Environmental Factors That Attract Crows
Except for things like sleeping and social communication, there are a few physical things capable of attracting crows to your area.
Like we stated before, one of the main things that attract crows is open food sources such as garbage cans, compost, pet food, farm animal food, and more. Crows will eat or rummage through most things, so these food sources are not off-limits for them.
Another factor that may attract crows is warmth or other comfortable features in an area. If you live in a cold climate and your house is relatively warm, crows may gather near your house to get and stay warm.
Having shelter may also attract crows. This is especially true in places like barns and sheds, where there is a physical overhead cover.
What Problems Do Crows Cause?
In short, there are a wide variety of problems that can be created by a large number of crows. Some of these problems include the spread of disease, droppings, disturbance of your pets, and property damage. They may also throw garbage, disturb pet feed, and destroy your plants and landscaping.
Crows Can Spread Disease
One big issue with large gatherings of crows is they can easily spread diseases among each other, and possibly among other organisms. While this may seem like a minor issue, at its root, it is not good. The diseases could easily spread to other crows and birds around the area.
Crows Cause Droppings
In small amounts, bird droppings can be beneficial. However, with large gatherings of crows, the droppings can often smother the area.
These dropping can cover both personal items like houses, cars, and sheds, or cover things like your plants and your garden. In the worst case, too many crow droppings in your garden could raise the nitrogen levels enough to harm the roots of your plants.
However, that’d be quite a bit of droppings…
Crows Can Disturb Other Animals
Crows can also be a big disturbance to other animals, especially your home pets. They may caw loudly near your pets or even come at smaller animals. This can be extremely stressful for your pets, even more so when it is an entire murder of crows.
Crows can also disturb the native wildlife in the area. According to many sources, crows can be aggressive or even violent to native animals such as small birds or rodents.
Crows Can Cause Property Damage
Crows can also cause property damage when they gather in large swarms. This is true because they can peck or destroy things like insulation, wall siding, or other fragile aspects of housing.
These birds do this most often to smaller buildings such as chicken coops or sheds because they are farther away from people. So you may have to try notably harder to repel them from those areas.
Crows Rummage Garbage And Pet Food
For the sake of finding food, crows can often rummage through and spread your garbage all around. In big swarms, crows are even more destructive and can disperse your garbage for hundreds of feet.
Not only is this bad for appearances, but this thrown garbage can also pollute your local area.
Crows will also get into farm and animal food that is lying around your house. This can easily spread diseases, as well as run your food bill up.
Crows Can Cause Plant Damage
As previously mentioned, crow activity can damage plants. Along with their droppings causing plant issues, they can also physically eat vegetables and fruits from your gardens. Crows are notorious for destroying food crops like cherries, corn, tomatoes, and many more.
Having lots of crows around also poses a risk for your garden being trampled and stepped on, which is not good for the health of your plants.
What Causes Crows to Caw?
In short, one reason crows may caw is to communicate with other crows around them. This communication can be to tell others about food sources, predators, or other local dangers.
While it may seem pointless, the cawing of crows may be one of their reasons for survival. Cawing allows them to tell others about food rather easily, which is a necessity for survival.
Crows also emit a low and slow caw in the presence of predators, allowing other crows to distinguish the signal and be cautious.
5 Different Noises That Crows Hate
Now that we have discussed what causes crows to gather and how they can cause issues, we can now look at different ways you can safely repel them.
With all the sound repellents, it is best to be considerate if you have close neighbors. Let them know what you are doing and try to plan to use these sounds during normal hours.
Crows are very intelligent animals, and they can often remember people and events. It may take a few tries to repel them. Although, after you disturb them consistently, they should leave the area.
Specifically, if you’re trying to keep crows away from bird nests, read our guide on how to repel crows from bird nests here.
Crows Hate Distress Signals
Distress signals can be a great tool to use against crows. In the wild, when animals are in danger, they let out loud distress calls. These calls signal other animals in the area to unknown danger.
Distress signals are one of the surefire ways in which you can repel crows because they are so driven by their safety.
Loud Or Rattling Noises Repel Crows
Overall, crows simply dislike loud or rattling noises. These types of noises can scare them, and possibly make them believe there is a large predator in the area.
In many places, they sell special crow-repellent sound makers that make loud rattling noises to disturb them.
You can also make sound makers to disturb the crows yourself. For example, you could try to put nails or metal into a sealed can. When you shake the can, the metal will rattle against the can, creating a loud noise that should repel the crows.
These cans and other noisemakers can also hang up in trees. This way, whenever it is windy, they should sway and rattle, repelling the crows.
Predator Calls Keep Crows Away
Similar to distress signals, you can also play predator calls to deter crows. With similar reasoning, predator calls would alert crows that there is a dangerous predator in the area. In doing this, the crows should try to move away to a different area.
Some animals that are natural predators to crows include owls, hawks, eagles, etc. This means that purchasing one of these calls should help to repel your crows.
If you have an outdoor stereo as well, you can play these sounds on repeat or on a timer to routinely keep crows away from the area.
You can read a full list of natural predators of crows here.
Deter Crows With Hazing Techniques
Another interesting way you can deter crows is through simple hazing techniques.
Hazing techniques refer to the process of physically yelling or making noise in the area. While this may take some energy from you, in most cases, the crows will associate you and your house with the sound, and they will steer clear of the area.
Motion Sensors Repel Crows
On more of a technological route, you can use motion sensors to deter your crows. You can often pick up motion sensors at your local stores that either emit a loud noise or create a bright light when triggered.
If you are looking for a low maintenance, but highly effective option, the ZOVENCHI Ultrasonic Animal Repellent is an awesome choice! It is solar-powered, which means no need for running wires or remembering batteries. It is also waterproof and uses light and sound to deter pests.
Both stimuli usually scare crows, causing them to leave. This is a great solution because it allows you to do no extra work after the initial setup.
Personally, I’m not a big fan of ultrasonic repellents but this is shaped like an owl and mimics an owls lights, lighting up. So, for that reason alone it will have a much greater chance at success than an ultrasonic repellent on its own, as it’s pairing two stimuli together.
Other Natural Ways You Can Repel Crows
Other than noise repellents, there are a lot of other ways in which you can repel crows from your area. Most of these repellents work with a similar rationale, however, they all are effective in their own way.
Shiny Tape Repels Crows
Shiny tape is a common deterrent that is sold in many outdoor and hardware stores. This tape can stick or tie to buildings or the branches of nearby trees. Normally, the tape is very reflective and shiny, so it catches and reflects a lot of light.
With this, crows and other pests tend to not like this shine, so they will often try to leave the area. Shiny tape disrupts a crows landing pattern as it makes it difficult to see where they’re going to land, leading to them choosing a different spot.
This solution usually works when it is sunny, or when there is a lesser amount of cloud cover, so your typical weather may make this less effective.
CD’s And Other Shiny Objects
Similar to the patented shiny tape, you can also make shiny repellents for crows. One common repellent is a CD tied up in a tree. Not only will it reflect lots of light like the tape, but it also should sway and swing in the light, often making it more effective than tape in some cases.
Decoys Keep Crows Away
One interesting way in which you can repel crows is with decoys. This method of repelling uses a fake crow/animal of some sort that appears dead. Many people claim hanging a fake crow decoy upside down or laying on a branch can repel crows. This is because crows often view this decoy as a dead relative, and they try to steer clear of the area.
Another way you can use decoys is by using a predator.
For crows, you can easily find owl, eagle, or falcon decoys you can put in trees or on the top of your roof. These decoys are meant to be visible, and let crows know that there is danger nearby.
Nets And Spikes Can Deter Crows
Using nets or spikes on areas where you don’t want crows to land can also be effective. Places like small business will often use this method to keep away swarms of crows and their droppings.
If you are specifically looking to repel crows from something like a fruit tree, you can net the whole tree. This is to prevent them from landing on it and eating your fruit.
Pungent Smells Keep Crows Away
According to some, smells can also act as a deterrent for crows. One common smell that people is use predator urine, or decomposition smells. These scents tip-off crows to danger or death in the area, causing them to leave.
Some people swear by using essential oils to repel crows. They recommend using potent smells like peppermint or rosemary, which are well known to deter all kinds of predators.
Trimming Trees Can Stop Crows From Landing
Another way in which you can deter crows is by trimming your local trees. Most people say that you can simply thin the branches. Others claim that cutting off most branches in the fall is an excellent way to get rid of most of them.
People believe tree trimming works because it removes the shelter the crows normally have. By trimming your trees, sitting crows become more visible to things like hawks and owls, which makes them uncomfortable.
With this line of thinking, if you trim your trees and remove most places in which they can shelter, your crows will most likely move in search of safety.
Being Conscious Of Your Surroundings
One last way that you can prevent crows from swarming is simply to be conscious of what you do in your area. As previously mentioned, many things attract crows, like animal food, trash, compost, etc.
With this, if you are vigilant by covering your compost, weighing down your trash, and covering your animal food, crows will most likely have a harder time getting into these and causing a swarm.
In addition, it can be helpful if you tell your neighbors about these crows. In most cases, people do not want swarms of crows, so they can also use repellents and be vigilant about things like open trash and compost.
That’s A Wrap!
In the end, crows can be a fickle pest to have around your house. They can cause property damage, impact your pets, hurt your crops, and cause lots of noise disturbances.
However, there are a few sounds you can use to repel them, such as loud noises, rattling noises, or distress and predator calls.
As well as this, there are a few other methods that you can use to repel crows, such as using shiny tape, netting your trees, or covering your compost. Most of these solutions should at least have some positive effect, so go outside and scare some crows!
Emery, N. J., & Clayton, N. S. (2004). The Mentality of Crows: Convergent Evolution of Intelligence in Corvids and Apes. Science, 306(5703), 1903–1907. https://doi.org/10.1126/science.1098410
Johnson, R. J. (1994). American crows.
Stickley, A. R., & Guarino, J. L. (1972). A Repellent for Protecting Corn Seed from Blackbirds and Crows. The Journal of Wildlife Management, 36(1), 150. https://doi.org/10.2307/3799200
Werner, S. J., Tupper, S. K., & Cummings, J. L. (2007). Chromaflair® Crow Buster for Repelling Blackbirds and Crows.
Zack is a Nature & Wildlife specialist based in Upstate, NY, and is the founder of his Tree Journey and Pest Pointers brands. He has a vast experience with nature while living and growing up on 50+ acres of fields, woodlands, and a freshwater bass pond. Zack has encountered many pest situations over the years and has spent his time maintaining and planting over 35 species of trees since his youth with his family on their property.
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