5 Ways To Keep Crows Away From Bird Nests

Carrion crow, Corvus corone

Crows are highly intelligent birds. They are a part of the Corvid family, along with magpies, ravens, and jays. As omnivores, they can eat a varied diet.

Crows will raid bird nests to steal eggs and chicks for their food. You can repel crows from bird nests by using predator decoys, dead crow decoys, shiny objects, bird netting and by building a bird house. Building a birdhouse is the best option as it will not deter other birds in the process.

Keeping crows away from nests can be tricky. Many ways will also chase off other birds, so you need a delicate balance to help protect your bird friends. Well, let’s get to it!

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How Do You Protect A Bird’s Nest From Crows?

As much as I would like to say the circle of life and all that, I recognize just how frustrating it can be when you are an avid birdwatcher and some crow is attacking your beloved birds. Not only is it sad to watch, but them doing this will chase away other birds from nesting around your yard. 

The only actual solution is to scare the crows away. A few solutions to protect bird nests from crows are:

  • Predator decoys
  • Dead crow decoys
  • Shiny objects
  • Bird netting
  • Build a birdhouse

Predator decoys will work for a short time until the crows realize they are not real. Ones such as the Plastic Owl Scarecrow Sculpture with Rotating Head. This is a great option since the head moves and should allow it to work longer. Moving it around will also assist with this. 

Crows dislike the death of their kind. They host funerals to figure out why those crows died to locate nearby threats. So, scatter fake dead crows around your yard to make it seem like a “no-go zone” for these Einstein birds!

Contrary to popular beliefs, crows are actually scared of shiny objects. Hanging pie tins and other objects that shine is a great way to deter these birds! Ones like the EONBES Bird Scare Reflective Holographic Ribbon will allow you to easily protect your yard. These work very well or just hang old DVDs or CDs around. 

The shine messes with the bird’s vision, which they heavily rely on for hunting. The lack of vision will scare them away and potentially keep them away!

Bird netting can also be useful, but be sure to get some with larger holes in it. The biggest issue with this method is birds getting caught in it. I don’t know about you, but I would hate to have to release an angry hawk or crow from this netting!

How Do I Get Rid Of Crows But Not Other Birds?

Carrion crow, Corvus corone

This is a tricky situation. Almost every solution to getting rid of crows will also get rid of the other birds. Birdseed attracts crows, as well as your songbird friends. You could place up ultrasonic bird deterrents, but it also deters your bird friends. 

One method is using birdhouses. These make it much harder for crows to raid the nests of other birds. Each bird species requires a different size hole. Keep the kinds of birds you have in mind when choosing homes for your feathered pals!

Honestly, learning to prevent crows from raiding nests rather than scaring them is the way to go. Feeding crows can be pretty interesting, especially if you enjoy watching intelligent birds. Some people even set up puzzles for the crows to solve!

Setting up a biodiverse backyard where crows and songbirds will thrive is fairly easy. A nice birdbath, bird food, and places to roost are important. Crows may even chase off other predators that may attack your birds. 

Crows’ varied diet makes them easy to feed. They like corn, peanuts, and even cat food! A well-fed crow is less likely to raid your bird nests!

Do Crows Scare Away Other Birds

Birds can fear crows because they prey on them and their young. This is an instinct they have learned over generations of natural selection. If these birds are not afraid of crows, they put their young in danger.    

Mockingbirds, however, are a whole different story because they will chase crows around. This is because mockingbirds are very protective of their young. They are ruthless and aggressive when it comes to defending them.

Mockingbirds are very territorial and will often attack crows for coming near their territory. Crows and mockingbirds really hate each other! I have seen them go after crows first hand and even hawks on multiple occasions. 

In short, birds rarely fear crows more than they would other predators. Crows are prey just as much as they are predators. 

Crows do a behavior called mobbing. This is when, as a group, they attack something they see as a threat. This can make them much scarier and much more harmful than a single larger bird. 

What Do Crows Hate The Most?

Close up of a Carrion crow against clear colorful background

Crows dislike shiny objects. Some speculate it messes with their vision, so they are less likely to go near areas with shiny objects. This is also true for many other predator birds. This is because they rely heavily on their vision. 

Crows also dislike loud noises. Making a lot of loud noises often will help deter these birds. Their high intelligence helps make them wary of unfamiliar sounds. However, they will often adapt and become immune. 

Their adaptation is why you will see many photos of crows roosting on scarecrows. They will at first avoid the scarecrow, thinking it is a human, but over time, they will realize it is not moving. 

Crows also hold grudges against those that wrong them. This is where mobbing, which was mentioned above, comes into play.

Large carnivorous birds also prey on crows. This makes them wary of any fake owls or other decoys you may put up. These decoys may deter other birds from nesting around your property though. 

Crows also hold makeshift funerals for their dead, which is a way to learn why they died. This helps them learn of any potential threats and they fear dead crows, so adding decoys around may help deter them from living as your neighbors! This one has great reviews: Etistta 17 inch Realistic Hanging Dead Crows Decoy. Nobody wants to live somewhere they do not feel safe!

What Smells Do Crows Hate?

Birds have very sensitive respiratory systems, which makes crows very susceptible to various respiratory issues and certain smells. Smells that can harm crows or that crows hate are:

  • Cedar 
  • Peppermint
  • Garlic
  • Lemon
  • Clove oil

These either hurt their respiratory system or they dislike them.

Cedar can harm an animal’s respiratory system, it’s high in dust and very fragrant, thus making it harmful for many species! Use this smell to help keep crows away!

Peppermint is another one crows just cannot stand! It is strongly fragrant and can irritate their nasal cavities. Garlic is an unpleasant smell, so it usually deters a lot of pests, including crows!

Lemon can also be mildly irritating to their respiratory system, along with clove oil which repels most pests. 

Interestingly enough, many recipes for repellent sprays for birds include various hot peppers, including cayenne. However, birds cannot taste capsaicin in peppers and it does not bother them. Therefore, hot peppers get added to a lot of birdseed mixes because it repels other animals such as squirrels and rats from eating on the seed.  

Bonide Repels-All Ready to Use Animal Repellent is a great commercial repellent available on the market; its active ingredients include clove oil, garlic, and dried blood, which typically would deter most other prey animals. 

Death will not deter crows as they are carrion eaters. This means they eat dead and rotting animals. The smell would attract them rather than repel them! 

Do Crows Talk To Each Other?

Carrion crow standing on a grass against green background

Crows are very vocal animals and have a complex language and can be very communicative. They will talk among themselves and while it can be annoying, it is a very interesting development.

Crows have advanced language skills compared to other animals, such as dogs. They communicate for many reasons:

  • Discussing any threats
  • Discussing food sources
  • Making “friends”

Crows being smart animals rely on their ability to communicate effectively to discover various resources. 

Crows will talk with each other to report any threats in the area. They also investigate dead crows to figure out why that crow may have died. They warn each other of predators in the area by cawing distinct caws and even use their cawing to scare threats away!

Food is a valuable source for every animal. Crows eat a varied diet from berries to carrion. This makes it easier for them to find food and once they find a source, they share this information with their murder. 

Be careful when feeding crows since they will invite their friends. One crow may turn into dozens, so prepare for a crow restaurant in your yard!

Fun fact: Crows use cars as a tool! Not only do they eat roadkill, but they also take nuts and align them where a car tire will hit it in the road. Doing so allows them to crack open tough nuts! 

Crows also communicate with others to form murders. Murders are their group and it is a mechanism for safety. They socialize among themselves and communicate their various needs. Cawing allows other crows to find them. There is safety in numbers after all!

With their reputation as little thieves, crows will steal objects and use them as gifts for their favorite people. 

Why Are Crows So Loud In The Morning?

Crows are loud in the morning because they sleep at night. They rise early to begin their days, no coffee needed!

Crows are loud for several reasons. They caw in large groups because it makes them seem like a bigger threat than if they were alone. These groups not only make them seem like a much larger threat than they are but also allow the birds to communicate important information among themselves. 

Crows use these groups as a way of communicating where resources are. There is power in numbers, after all. They are essentially screaming information at each other instead of using phones like we would.

The fact they can learn to mock humans is interesting in itself. Their ability to communicate and understand is remarkable!

Crow Facts

Well,to understand these birds, you should get to know them. What is that saying? Keep your friends close and your enemies closer!

Understanding these birds is essential to know how to rid yourself of their incessant cawing!

Here are the most common crow facts:

  • They can live 10 to 15 years!
  • Their intelligence often matches up with chimpanzees 
  • Some people eat crows!
  • They can hold grudges for generations. 
  • The only endangered crow species is the Flores crow
  • They bathe in ants. 
  • Crows play games
  • They have 15 to 33 vocalizations

To tell you he truth, I am mainly only sharing these because, well, these birds amaze me! Also, I am going to touch on ant bathing because, well, it’s weird. Ants produce a compound called formic acid that crows actually use. Yup.

We do not know the exact use crows have for bathing in ants, but that compound may help ward off parasites. They also seem to do this as a sort of aftershave while molting. Crows may even get some form of drunk from it.

Wrapping It Up!

Crows are one of the most intelligent animals and one of the most intelligent birds around! We often give them a bad rap because of many superstitions. In fact, crows are probably the opposite of symbols of death, and they even host small funerals to discover why one of their own died!

These birds can be difficult to get rid of and they often return to the same spot every year to nest. They like to hang around where they feel safe and secure. They will roost in tall trees and come down early in the morning in search of food. 

Crows have an array of vocal noises that signal different things. They communicate among themselves to tell each other about food or dangers. They also recruit other crows to join their murder and mob those who wrong them.

Seemingly, the only way to deal with crows is to learn to live with them. They will adapt to most tactics used to scare them away, so the best method of keeping your bird friends safe is by feeding crows so they are not hungry.  

Overall, crows are amazing creatures and are very fascinating birds to study. We can learn a lot by watching them and even find some entertainment in their antics!

Resources

Anting, https://web.stanford.edu/group/stanfordbirds/text/essays/Anting.html.

Crows – Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Huggett, Posted by Georgia. “Scientific Scribbles.” Scientific Scribbles, 4 Oct. 2018, https://blogs.unimelb.edu.au/sciencecommunication/2018/10/04/crows-they-dont-forget-and-they-dont-forgive/.

“The Intelligent Crow.” The Intelligent Crow | Indiana University, 19 Sept. 2018, https://libraries.indiana.edu/intelligent-crow.

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