Crows are among the most intelligent birds in the world, but this intelligence makes them a nuisance when they realize they may benefit from hanging out on our balcony! Once these birds find food, water, or anything else worthwhile, it can be challenging to get them to leave.
Crows are challenging to keep off your balcony because they will return to where they know they can to find food, water, or shelter. Eliminating food sources or scaring them away with noises, shiny objects, predator decoys, strong scents, or sprinklers are effective methods to keep crows away.
Keep on reading for some easy tips and tricks to keep crows off your balcony and keep them from coming back!
Why Are Crows On Your Balcony Anyways?
Before you can find a method to keep crows off your balcony for good, you’ll want to know why they are using your balcony. There are a few different reasons, so you’ll have to find the source and eliminate those reasons.
1. Nearby Sources Of Food And Water
Food and water are two essential parts of a crow’s survival and the most likely reason they may be on your balcony. This may be nearby food and water sources, and your balcony is a good resting place, or the balcony itself may be the source.
One obvious example is if you keep a bird feeder on your balcony, the crows will feed from it and use your balcony to access it. However, plants, trash, and any insects that are also on your balcony can attract crows as well.
The same applies to water if you have a fountain or other water feature for them to access. Nearby water sources can also be a place for crows to drink, and the crows return to your balcony to be less exposed.
2. There May Be A Nearby Roosting Area
Crows roost in large groups using trees, buildings, and other protective structures. Then, during the day, crows will fly to feeding sites different for individual crows. Roosting sites can be home to thousands or even hundreds of thousands of crows.
While crows will roost in the same place every night, during the day, they will fly over 12 miles from their roost, according to the Maine Department of Forestry, Fisheries, and Wildlife. Some research even suggests that crows can fly 50 miles to and from their roost during the day in search of food.
However, it is much more likely that crows will be using your balcony if their roosting site is nearby. If that is the case, they may find value in using your balcony without needing to travel further. Scaring them and taking away their resources will be key if there is a nearby roost.
3. Your Balcony May Offer Protection From Predators
A third reason that crows might use your balcony is it offers protection from other predators. This can include general cover, or crows are aware of the fact that most animals will avoid human activity, making balconies a safe place to live.
Going back to how intelligent crows are, it’s safe to say they can recognize areas predators avoid and figure out what times are safe to be on your balcony. This intelligence makes them interesting animals but also a stubborn nuisance.
Many tips on this list rely on tricking the crows into thinking that your balcony is no longer safe by mimicking common signs of predators to deter them. They’ll find another place to hang out during the day by making the crows unsure about your balcony.
11 Ways To Keep Crows Off Your Balcony For Good
There are two main methods to keep crows off your balcony: scare them away or remove the reason they visit your balcony. The best strategies will combine a method in each category to maximize results, but this is only sometimes possible, so be sure to use the best methods in your situation.
#1 Always Manage Food Sources And Trash
Crows are not picky eaters, so if something is vaguely edible, they will eat it. Depending on what you keep on your balcony, it may become a food source for the crows. This includes many plants, insects, leftover foods, and trash.
These items should be controlled so that crows cannot access them. Throwing away trash right away, in a can with a lid, is an excellent start to limiting the amount of food they have available.
Covering plants with bird netting is another excellent way to keep the crows off them if they pick your flowers. Seeds and fruit make up most of a crow’s diet, depending on their available food sources.
#2 Use Noises Such As Crow Distress Calls Or Wind Chimes
If you live in an apartment complex with a balcony or your own private home, the noise you can make without disturbing your neighbors will vary. However, there are plenty of options for noise that will keep the crows away without annoying your neighbors.
Wind chimes are a great way to keep crows away by providing a strange noise while still being simple, effective, and reflective. This combination makes wind chimes a popular method for deterring many species of birds while adding a relaxing ambiance.
Using speakers to play recordings of distressed crows is another excellent way to keep the real crows away. Crows are a very communicative species, and the sound of others in distress is often more than enough for them to turn tail and find a new spot to forage during the day!
Overall if you have crows cawing, this is a great way to get them to stop!
#3 Use Water to Scare Crows Away
Like cats, squirrels, and most people, crows do not like to be sprayed with water and will fly away. This method may result in your balcony getting a bit wet, but it does not use harsh chemicals or have any chance of harming the birds.
Automatic sprinklers such as the Havahart 5277 Critter Ridder Motion Sprinkler work by motion detection, so they spray a bit of water in the direction you point it- only using about two cups at a time!
These sprinklers are easy to install and move if you want to use in another part of your property, and they can even be used as regular sprinklers. While they might work best in fields, they are still great for your balcony problems.
#4 Tie Some CDs On String And Hang Them Up
Hanging up CDs on a string might sound too simple of a solution to be effective, but it’s so commonly recommended because it scares away birds and other small animals. On top of that, it is inexpensive and easy to implement anywhere.
One of the caveats of using this method to scare crows away is there needs to be direct sunlight on the CDs. This method will work for you if you get daily sunlight hitting your balcony.
All you need to do is use some string tied around the CDs, going through the center hole. Then they can be tied up, so they are freely hanging, and that natural movement and the reflection from the sun will keep those pesky crows away!
#5 Use Crow-Proof Bird Feeders
Many people like to use bird feeders to bring some life to their balconies in the form of small songbirds, but unfortunately, they will be plagued by “bully birds” such as crows.
If you still want a bird feeder on your balcony but want to keep crows away, then you should check out a specialized anti-crow feeder.
One example would be the Perky-Pet 735 Wild Bird Feeder, which uses a diamond grid to let small birds in and keep large birds out. This is a great option to keep a bird feeder on or near your balcony without dealing with feeding the crows as well.
Ultimately, there are pros and cons to having crows around – so if you like having them nearby, keep feeding them!
#6 Predator Decoys Can Be Effective To Repel Crows
Predator decoys in the shape of owls, falcons, coyotes, and other predators native to your area are another great way to trick crows into thinking they are not safe on your balcony.
The more realistic the decoy, the better since you need to deal with an intelligent crow and trick them into thinking it is accurate. Decoys that use movement work best but can be challenging to implement in a balcony setting.
A predator decoy is best when used with another form of control since birds can get used to decoys, so applying scents or another method on this list works well to provide extra help repelling crows.
#7 Use Scents That Crows Can’t Stand
Crows have sensitive noses and cannot stand strong smells. Applying a spray mixed with peppermint, citronella, lemon, cayenne, vinegar, or garlic can all be effective methods to keep crows at bay.
The added benefit of most of these scents is they will keep other pests away, including mosquitoes, rodents, and lizards, depending on where you live. Citronella is an especially versatile scent that purchased or grown if you have a green thumb.
Most birds have an aversion to the same scents as one another, so for more detail on scents to use in your battle against crows and how to use them, check out this article on 8 Scents That Pigeons Hate and know they will work on most birds.
#8 Mylar Tape Or Scare-Tape Work To Keep Crows Away
Mylar tape can be found in any home improvement store and is very reflective, making it the perfect option to confuse crows and keep them away. Mylar tape is so widely used and effective that many companies have made specially designed tapes specifically for scaring away birds.
Using the sun’s light, the tape will shine a bright reflection toward the crows, confusing them and making it difficult to land (keeping them off your balcony!) Crows will avoid unnatural environments that make them unsure.
Scare tapes also are highly reflective but will use a combination of different shades and patterns to increase their effectiveness and make them more unnatural for the birds. Reflective tapes can be an easy and inexpensive method and require little setup.
#9 Make Sure Crows Aren’t Roosting Nearby In Trees
Nearby trees may serve as roosts for crows, making it more likely that crows will pick your balcony to rest and search for food during the day. While those with urban balconies might not be able to do much about roosting trees, if the tree is on your property, you might be able to trim it and discourage roosting.
Of course, you’ll want to check with local laws to ensure you are not harming the birds, as crows are protected in many areas. Local pest control experts will have the best answers for you and tips for controlling the nearby crow population.
The Cornell Department of Ornithology says that crows can roost in small groups at night under 100 birds, up to over a million crows in the same area. Depending on the size of the nearby roost, your options will vary greatly.
#10 Try A Commercial Bird Repellent To Stop Crows
Many companies have developed specialty formulas to repel crows and other birds, so if you have stubborn crow problems taking it up a notch might be necessary. Not all products are created equal, so read reviews carefully!
Some products, such as ultrasonic devices, are also advertised as working but are shown to be ineffective.
Bird-X Bird-Proof Gell Repellent uses a nontoxic formula and is long-lasting and easy to apply, with most people having great luck with it. It is designed to prevent birds from roosting and can be applied around your balcony, but be aware it will leave a sticky residue.
#11 Combine Methods To Stop Crows For Good!
Of course, crows are intelligent birds, so even the best tip might only work for so long. Combining several different methods and switching them up if one stops working is the only real strategy for keeping birds away for good.
Using visual deterrents along with scented deterrents of combing sounds and predator decoys will yield the best results in the long term. Identifying the cause of the crows being attracted to your balcony and taking away that reason will also go a long way in keeping birds away.
That’s A Wrap!
We hope you found this article interesting and that these tips help you control your crow problem for good. Crows are intelligent animals, which you can use against them to keep them away from your balcony.
Now for a quick recap.
Some easy methods to keep crows off your balcony for good include:
- Throw Away Food And Trash
- Use The Recordings Of Distressed Crows
- Use An Automatic Sprinkler
- Tie CDs To Strings
- Use Crow-Proof Bird Feeders
- Get A Couple Of Predator Decoys
- Garlic And Other Strong Scents
- Mylar Reflective Tape
- Trim Nearby Trees
- Use A Commercial Bird Repellant
Thank you for reading, and happy crow repelling!
Houk, A., Gorenzel, W. P., Delwiche, M. J., & Salmon, T. P. (2003). Development of an electronic system and field protocol for control of Crows in Almond orchards. 2003, Las Vegas, NV July 27-30, 2003.
Johnson, R. J. (1994). AMERICAN CROWS. The Handbook: Prevention and Control of Wildlife Damage, 33–40.
Johnson, R. J. (n.d.). American Crows. Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation & Forestry.McGowan, K. J. (2010, November 9). Frequently asked questions about crows. The Cornell Lab of Ornithology.
Seamans, T. W., & Helon, D. (2006). Evaluation of the chromaflair® Crow Buster as a starling repellent at nest sites. Proceedings of the Vertebrate Pest Conference, 22.
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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