American Crows - The Good, The Bad and The Noisy
Whether you’re an avid birder or just a beginner, everyone knows a crow when they see one. With their jet black exterior and loud, unmistakable caws, the American Crow can be found over most of the continental US and Canada. Despite the common misconception we may have of these birds, their behavior can actually be quite interesting!
Crows are among a small group of animals that use tools in their day to day life. Researchers have mounted tiny cameras to the tail feathers of crows and discovered they use tools in search of food. They’ve been known to use grass stems, pine cones and even twigs. And they don’t just pick any old twig to use; they go as far to shape their tools so they have a tiny hook to help dig inside holes. Pretty impressive considering they do all of this with their beaks!
Although crows can be fascinating creatures, it might not be in your best interest to attract them to your yard. Crows are frequent nest predators and like to feed on eggs and chicks in nests. They sometimes even go after exhausted songbirds after a long migration.
While you cannot completely keep crows away, there are a few tips that might help in protecting the birds in your yard.
- Shelter feeders from the open skies by hanging them under an awning or umbrella.
- Provide natural cover with the landscape in your yard to give the birds hidden places to put their nests. Dense trees and shrubbery should allow enough room for the birds to get in and build their nest, but still keep the crows out.
- Be sure pet food and trash are completely covered and there is no access to open garbage.
- Peanuts are a favorite among crows, so be sure to tidy up the mess that your birds might make at your peanut feeders.
These simple steps should keep you enjoying the crows from afar, and your songbirds safe to feed and nest in your yard!