It might be in the middle of your morning coffee, or it might be in the middle of the night, but you have had this happen. Crows… lots of them, and all of them cawing at once. Just how do you get crows to shut up and stop cawing?
In general, anti-bird spikes, loud noises, scarecrows, shiny decorations, decoys, bird netting, and lasers all can scare crows away and stop them from cawing. Keeping your yard dark at night and your garbage covered can help keep crows away long term and stop them from returning to your yard.
If some of your closest neighbors are crows and you want them moved out, let’s get them out!
How To Stop Crows From Cawing
1. Put up a Decoy Owl To Frighten Crows
Owls are a threat to crows and they know it. Like the “scarecrow” idea, this method means finding a realistic owl decoy like the Dalen Natural Enemy Great Horned Owl and putting it out where your local crow families will see it.
Crows are not interested in sticking around after they see a predator. They will not land on your roof, and will most likely leave the area entirely… and take their caw with them.
Pro-Tip: You can also use decoy hawks if those are the top predators in your area. If you are not an owl fan, try the YOFIT Horned Hawk Decoy to scare away your noisy crows.
Crows have many predators, and you can learn more about some of them here, 6 Natural Predators And Enemies Of Crows.
2. Scary Sounds Can Deter Crows
While it might be tempting to fire off a noisemaker, cannon, or blast your favorite classic rock song from outdoor speakers whenever crows land in your yard, that’s not quite what we mean by noise.
We are talking scary sounds because no one likes scary sounds. Not you, not your family, your dog, or the crows haunting your backyard or roof. So, playing audio recordings of predator sounds or loud bangs will scare them away.
(Just be warned, if your neighbors are close enough, they will not appreciate your new music any more than the crows will.)
Pro-Tip: Crows are smart and will know if you are playing the sounds of a predator that does not exist in your area. Make sure you know what predators they have!
You can make your own scary sounds if you are not noise-averse and do not mind banging pots, metal trash can lids, or yelling. Do it whenever you see crows in your yard and they will eventually leave (your neighborhood might not appreciate your noise war, though. Use cautiously!)
There are other options for sounds crows dislike as well. For a list of their most hated, check out 5 Different Noises That Crows Hate (Crow Repelling Guide).
3. Anti-bird spikes Keep Crows Away
There is a place for anti-bird spikes in your arsenal for keeping noisy crows from deciding your property makes a great meeting spot, but you will need to be strategic about where you place them. You will be placing them around places like:
- Edges of chimneys
- Ledges on top of porch supports
- The top of your roofline
- The tops of fences
There are several types of anti-bird spikes, and some are more effective than others for crows. The type of bird spikes you pick depends on what kind of birds you are trying to keep away from your roof and windows. Not everyone wants their house to look like a miniature Fort Knox.
Fortunately, there are more subtle bird spike setups, including some terra cotta-colored strips that might match a fence line or roof ridge. There are even clear plastic bird spike sets that provide effective deterrents while not providing unsightly views.
We recommend Feierya’s Bird Deterrent Spikes if you want something in the terra cotta range, or Kkuyt’s Defender Spikes for the more invisible kind of crow keep away. And if crows aren’t in your yard, you can’t hear them cawing.
4. Scarecrows can Scare Crows!
You know the old saying about “birdbrains”? Turns out it is not exactly true. There are plenty of pretty smart birds out there, and yes, crows are one of them.
That means that while they are smart enough to be spooked by unusual things, they have to be decently realistic unusual things to make crows think twice about coming around your house.
Crows already know humans provide great feeding grounds. We have yards we work, gardens we tend, and tasty, tasty garbage cans we might leave less than well-secured.
They also know humans are one of their top predators, so they are usually a little leery of people.
Setting a scarecrow up in your yard will work to keep crows (and their cawing) away temporarily, but you will have to do more than just set out some stuffed clothing and a battered hat on a basketball.
The key to making a scarecrow work is changing positions every so often. Crows are as smart as primates, with as many neurons in the relevant part of their brains as monkeys. They will be able to figure out the scarecrow never moves and is not a threat.
Always pair a scarecrow with loud sounds or flashing objects. Reflective wind chimes and hanging decorations are great and making time to come out in your garden and make an unholy amount of noise will make crows hate the idea of being near your house.
Bonus points: Crows are very talkative (which you already knew) and communicate with each other enough to tell the rest of the family where to go and where not to go for food. Chances are good a few applications of noise and a scarecrow will make your neighborhood corvids mark your house with a big “No Caw Zone”.
5. Crows dislike Shiny decorations
It’s just a folktale crows love shiny objects. This is why hanging some reflective wind chimes helps to keep crows away.
You can try regular wind chimes as long as they are metal, but you will have better luck with reflective tree hangers specifically designed to scare away your overly loud feathered friends (and they look pretty!) We like the Bird Repellent Wind Twisting Scare Rods. They come in a pack of 12 and spin in the wind to help deter birds.
If you are looking to mix your methods, you can get a shiny reflector that looks like an owl for more crow-scaring power. The FONMY Owl Suncatcher is an effective decorative choice. They are hand-painted and sealed to be weather and rust-resistant.
6. Scare away crows with a Dead Crow
This macabre but effective trick is easiest to start around Halloween when there are plenty of prop ravens or crows to be had. We like these realistic Black Crow Feathered Birds, which are made from sturdy plastic and covered with high-quality feathers.
This ultra-realistic Etistta 17-inch Hanging Dead Crow Decoy is another fantastic option if you are looking for help outside of the spooky season. It is also made of high-quality plastic and comes with two ropes so it can hang upside down or right side up.
Pro-Tip: If you are looking to combine methods like “crows dislike shiny things” and “dead crows scare live crows”, you will want to check out Zilin’s Dead Crow Decoy with 160 ft. Double Side Laser Tape. Both products are great at keeping crows away!
Be sure to hang your scare crow somewhere obvious, so the real crows can see it. They will assume a predator killed him and stay away. (Do not leave it out all the time, or those smarty-birds will figure out something is up. Bring it out in the morning and evening to keep them guessing.)
Did You Know crows will gather around a dead crow and check out the body? Some people call this a crow funeral, but scientists also think it’s the crows trying to figure out what killed the dead bird.
7. Lasers repel crows
Yes. You read that right. Lasers. OK, we’re talking about laser pointers, easily purchasable and easy to use. However, there are a few tips and tricks you want to know before you take your laser war to your yard to get rid of cawing crows:
- Use a blue or green laser. Red lasers are not as effective. You want lasers in the with a long reach, like the 1600m Long Range Tactical LED Flashlight. This one also
- Make sure your laser pointer is powered up and ready to go with a full charge.
- Aim near the crow and repel it!
Pro-Tip: Be cautious where you aim your laser pointer. Make sure not to accidentally point it at incoming aircraft (big-time offense) and do not aim in directly in the crow’s eye.
8. Bird Netting keeps crows out of your garden
If you have noticed you get more crows in the summer, there’s a reason. Your beloved garden is a one-stop buffet for omnivores like your favorite neighborhood racket factories.
Crows will eat pretty much anything; that includes your veggies, the bugs or (yikes!) mice who come to take advantage of the new food source, and even the scraps you put out in your compost heap. So cutting off their access to your garden is a great way to stop them hanging around and cawing.
We have mentioned bird netting before, but it’s a must for this step; you will want some about 3/5” because it’s loose enough not to interfere with plant growth but small enough to deter most birds. We recommend De-Bird’s Heavy Duty Bird Netting.
9. Trimming Trees Deters Crows
We are not talking about male chickens. Crows roost together at night in mega-flocks. It’s for safety, so they are looking for a nice spot with lots of trees.
If you have lots of trees in your backyard, you are probably giving them exactly what they want.
While it is a lot to think about, consider cutting back any heavy trees with nice big branches for perching. This is a major step and requires either a heavy investment in time and effort from you or money if you hire someone else.
If nothing else on this list works, though, this might be the option that keeps crows from roosting–and cawing–in your yard.
Trimming trees can also help keep crows away from birds nests as they roost in trees.
10. Limit Light (Keep It Dark) to repel crows
OK, this is not something most people think about, but your nighttime lighting can draw crows to your yard. Crows are very aware of how vulnerable they are at night, and having some light to see predators by is something they like.
We are not saying to take out all your landscape lighting, because it’s something that provides value, beauty, and safety to you, too. Although, if you have extra lighting on at night, consider turning it off.
11. Use Bird Gel
Imagine walking barefoot over your floor, when you step on something sticky and uncomfortable and gross. Would you want to stay there? Probably not.
Bird gel is a non-toxic gel you can put on the tree branches or walls crows favor. It cannot hurt them, but it will make them uncomfortable. This is a good alternative to cutting back trees you have on your property.
Bird-B-Gone Transparent Bird Gel Repellant is an effective bet. It can last up to 6 months and is easy to apply with a caulk gun. Please keep in mind that in warm weather, bird gel can potentially melt over the structure you’ve placed it in.
It does not matter if crows caw if they are not cawing where you can hear them.
12. Keep Trash And Garbage Sealed
Crows are drawn to trash. It is an easy and reliable food source. Therefore, it is so important to keep your garbage cans covered. Open or loose covers are not even a challenge to these intelligent feathered bandits.
If you have to, put a brick or rock on your trash can lid or use a heavy-duty garbage can that’s impossible for crows to open.
Oh, and if you compost your food or garden scraps, cover it with bird netting to keep crows from scavenging for food and insects.
How Do I Stop Crows Cawing in the Morning?
First thing in the morning, you probably roll out of bed, grab your phone and your coffee, and check up on the news or email… maybe catch up on your favorite show or set your tasks for the day.
You are not the only one. Crows do the same thing. The only problem is they do not have cell phones or opposable thumbs, so they pass information by yelling. Loudly.
Smaller flocks of crows typically gather to sleep in super-sized flocks called roosts. The idea of safety in numbers is not new. Crows are smart; they know they are vulnerable while they sleep, so they roost in groups of 25-50 or more.
This is so predators (owls and raccoons at night, hawks, eagles, squirrels, and humans during the day) will not be as inclined to go after them.
Great news for the crows, but not so great for the humans. They need to check in before they go off hunting in the morning, which means cawing.
A quick way to stop crows from cawing in the morning is to pull out your handy laser pointer and shine it at them. Crows dislike laser pointers and will fly away as soon as you aim it at them. (More on this in another section.)
How Do I get Rid of Crows in my Yard?
If you have crows in your yard, congratulations! Your local corvid population has designated you a safe space. Crows can be a lot of fun to interact with, but they can also be destructive and are noisy no matter what.
The easiest way to keep crows from cawing in your yard is to keep your yard from being interesting in the first place.
- If you have a birdbath… empty it. You will be able to put it back eventually, but right now, you want to make your property as unattractive as possible.
- If you have a birdfeeder, find a crow-proof one like the Perky Pet 1 312 Panorama Bird Feeder (or remove yours altogether).
- If you have a garden, it’s time to apply bird netting. Heck, if you cannot keep them out of your compost heap, put it over that, too. The bird netting we mentioned above will can tremendously in the long run.
Always keep in mind that, if you have a serious bird problem, you can always call up a local removal expert who can help you encourage the crows to leave. Check here for experts in your area.
How Do I Stop Crows Landing on my Roof?
As tempting as it might be to line your roof with spikes, turning your house into a hedgehog is not entirely practical (although you can use anti-bird spike strips in strategic areas. We will get into that in a minute).
A better bet would be to make your roof look like someone already lives there… something scary. We are talking about the classic predators for crows: ravens, owls, hawks, and raccoons. This is where your friendly neighborhood decoys come in.
Adding the power of a good owl or hawk decoy with bird spikes or bird gel combines the best of both deterrent methods.
Speaking of bird spikes…
Do Bird Spikes Keep Crows Away?
Bird spikes are a simple physical tool you can use to deny your local feathered friends their favorite perches. At least, that’s the theory.
There are a lot of different varieties of bird spikes you can buy, everything from metal multi-spiked strips to thick, weatherproof plastic types, to clear plastic spike strips that provide a subtle “stay off” message to birds that are thinking about parking on your windowsills.
Yes, spike strips do work to keep birds away from prime roosting spots. However, they’re a short-term fix, because birds are smart. Strips built to deter bigger birds provide plenty of space for smaller birds to park.
If you are going to use bird spikes, like any crow deterrent, use a second method to add oomph to the bird spikes. Those predator decoys we mentioned, like hawks, ravens, or owls, are great. Between the bird spikes themselves and the decoy, any crows should give your house a wide berth.
You can read our guide for the best bird spikes for small birds here.
You Can Get Crows to Stop Cawing!
Crows are masters at manipulating their environment to get what they want, and what they want is food, somewhere to make babies, and someone to make babies with.
If you have a yard that denies them any of those things, you will not have to worry about hearing them caw all the time. Using a combination of these methods should do the trick to keep your local crow population away from your house and silent.
For more information on repelling crows, take a look at our guide on the ways to scare crows away here.
Emery, N. J. (2004). The Mentality of Crows: Convergent Evolution of Intelligence in Corvids and Apes. Science, 306(5703), 1903–1907
Nieder, A. (2017). Inside the corvid brain—probing the physiology of cognition in crows. Current Opinion in Behavioral Sciences, 16, 8–14.
Brown, E. D. (2010). The Role of Song and Vocal Imitation among Common Crows (Corvus brachyrhynchos). Zeitschrift Für Tierpsychologie, 68(2), 115–136.
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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