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How to Make Friends With Crows

Updated on June 14, 2017
EditorAnna profile image

When not editing at HubPages, I write fiction, personal essays, and almost-poems.

The Family of Crows in My Neighborhood

In 2010, I was sitting on the steps in front of my house watching my kids play on the sidewalk when I looked up and saw a crow sitting on the telephone wire. While my kids chattered and squawked and fought over who got the green chalk, that crow sat with her head cocked to one side, observing us with one friendly black eye. Although I can't be certain, it sure seemed like she was just as amused as I was.

I'm not an ornithologist or even a birdwatcher, but crows intrigue me. Since that day, I have become friends with the neighborhood crows, and I've learned a thing or three along the way.

Source

The Way to a Crow's Heart

The best way to introduce yourself to a crow is by feeding it. I'm sure there are other ways to go about it, but the easiest, fastest way to a crow's heart is food.

Some may argue that a crow is a wild animal and by feeding it, you encourage an unnatural dependence. And with most wildlife, this is an excellent philosophy. But crows and humans have been living side-by-side for centuries now, and researchers like Marzluff and Angell, who wrote In the Company of Crows and Ravens, point to many instances of cultural coevolution between us. It's been an arguably symbiotic relationship for quite awhile now.

Certainly, after all this time together, humans' and crows' lives and histories have become closely intertwined. I moved to this neighborhood in this small city 15 years ago. I'm relatively new here, but since crows have territories they pass on to their children, the crows in my neighborhood may have descended from birds who lived here more than a hundred years ago. They've watched people come and go for years, people who may have watched them right back.

So anyway, we're neighbors, and feeding is the neighborly thing to do.

How to Befriend a Crow: Step-by-Step

  1. Find some food that the crow seems to like. This requires some trial and error, as they can —or maybe it's just the urban ones who can—be surprisingly finicky. You'll know the crow likes it judging by how quickly it swoops down to grab it. If that pile of leftovers sits all day, they just aren't interested, so try something else, only make sure it's healthy. Crows like junk food, but giving it to them is probably not a kind thing to do. (For more food options, Aves Noir has a nice list of things crows do and don't like.)
  2. Stock that food. Buy enough so you don't run out. I buy huge bags of unsalted peanuts from Costco. If you have any menu suggestions, please share them in the comments section below.
  3. Establish a regular feeding schedule, so they know when to expect you and vice versa. If you don't establish a rhythm for interaction, the relationship may never gel. And don't feed them so much that they become dependent—just a handful of something to show you care.
  4. Be dependable, steadfast, and observant. Don't just throw the food out there and walk away. Stay (at a safe distance) to watch them eat (or select carefully and fly off to cache it for later). Since crows have territories, take some time to try to get to know how big your local crow family is. (FYI usually, a mated pair builds a nest and lays an egg or two every year. Some of the previous years' hatchlings hang around for several years before they move away to mate and take a new territory. This is what a "normal" family looks like, but I've heard stories about multiple generations sharing a turf.) (Please describe your neighborhood's crow family in the comments!) My crows feel most comfortable swooping down to grab the peanuts I throw if I'm sitting in my car, so I keep a bagful in the front seat for this purpose.
  5. Don't try to get too close. These are wild animals, after all. Your goal shouldn't be to tame them or take them as pets, which is illegal in most states anyway, and ethically dubious. Even after years of friendship, a crow will be skittish and standoffish (but admiring from afar) and it's better this way.

My neighborhood (American) crow: Although this one appears to be showing off its lovely profile, this is actually how they observe you: Out of one eye.
My neighborhood (American) crow: Although this one appears to be showing off its lovely profile, this is actually how they observe you: Out of one eye. | Source

What Do Crows like to Eat?

Crows are omnivorous scavengers so they're quite open-minded about what they eat. They'll do fruit, vegetables, insects, berries, kibble, popcorn, kitchen scraps, road kill, and—in a pinch—even vomit. I've heard that they show a preference for food wrapped in a fast-food wrapper (yes, they even recognize the brand). Their bad reputation as harbingers of death probably has something to do with the fact that they'll swoop down to help clean up a battleground (they are scavengers, after all). They'll pillage eggs from other birds and they'll rummage through your garbage can if you let them.

At least those are the reports I read. The crows in my neighborhood are slightly more choosy about what they eat, perhaps because they have access to many sources of food and can afford to be picky. I imagine that the diets of country crows differs vastly from that of their city-dwelling cousins. I've tried getting them to help me out in the garden by eating the snails, but they're not interested. I've tried kitchen scraps with mixed results—they pick out what they want and leave the mess for me to clean up—so mostly, I give them boiled eggs (which they gobble up, shell and all) and I keep a bag of roasted, unsalted peanuts in my car so I can toss them a handful whenever we meet.

Sometimes, the crows will peck open and gulp down the food right there in the street. Other times, especially with the peanuts, they'll stuff their gullets and fly off to cache their horde so they can enjoy it later. The peanuts' shells make them very portable and cacheable.

Source

Why Don't They Trust Me?

One day, a man was walking by while I was feeding the crows. He was excited by the idea and wanted to try, so I gave him a handful peanuts. He walked under the telephone wire they were sitting on and held up his hand. The crows just eyeballed him.

"They're not going to come to you," I told him. "You have to throw the peanuts into the street."

So he tossed the peanuts down at his feet and looked up at the crows, who didn't budge. "What's the matter with them? Why won't they eat?" he wanted to know, and when I explained that crows aren't like that, that even though I'd been feeding them for years they never came closer than a few feet away, he lost interest and continued on down the street.

Crows can be skittish and aloof. They are never going to come running like a dog will for a lick and a pet, and their standoffish attitude is probably a major reason why they have thrived as a species for so long. Remember, crows are wild animals. In the US, it is illegal to keep native songbirds (crows included) as pets. If you want a pet you should get one, but if you're interested in crows, you'll have to learn to appreciate their charms from afar.

Besides, get real, most humans view crows as ominous, murderous evils (or at best, rats with wings). For centuries, they have played the bad guys in the stories humans tell themselves, and I'm sure those crows have noticed the eye-daggers most people shoot at them, how cars veer to the shoulder to intentionally run them over. Why wouldn't that distrust be mutual?

So crows will take their own sweet time deciding if they trust you or not, but once they know who you are, they'll never forget. At first, they may give you the cold shoulder and ignore your offerings, but don't take it personally. Remember that paranoia is all about survival but patience and vigilance will eventually pay off. If you pass the test, they will decide to trust.

Crows Recognize Faces

Communicating with Crows

There are stories of crows who have learned certain words—the way a parrot can—but those stories are rare. Most of us will settle for a subtler kind of bird/human exchange and will learn to interpret the crow's own natural forms of communication.

Experts can identify many different calls, but even an amateur like me can begin to recognize certain sounds:

  • When the crow on lookout sees the food you've offered, she'll summon her family members with a caw, caw, caw.
  • To me, the "come eat!" call sounds a lot like the scolding noise they make when they see a stranger or a dog or some other possible threat.
  • Then there's that rattling they do most often during mating season.
  • After awhile, you may begin to recognize the difference between the vocalizations of an adult and a baby. (The babies sound whinier and chattier than their parents, go figure.)
  • If you're lucky and they like you, they might mutter at you from above.

The crows will return the favor of your attention by learning to interpret your signs, as well. They will memorize your schedule and the sound of your car keys. Sometimes, when I'm standing like a crazy person in the street with a hard boiled egg in my hand and no crows in sight, I've taken to whistling to let them know I'm there. My whistle (a "yoo hoo" sound issued between my teeth) is like the dinner bell letting the crows know it's time to eat.

One summer I went away on vacation for a couple weeks and within a few days of my return, I came out of my house to find a huge group of crows waiting for me, making a cacophony of caws. It was a quite a spectacle and I don't know what they were trying to communicate to me, but I know it was something (see video below).

Crows Communicate (But I Don't Know What It Means)

(The video above is one I took when I discovered a huge flock of crows outside my house one day.)

Where Did the Crows Go?

Although the crows you see in your neighborhood "own" that territory and are very territorial, that doesn't mean they never leave. For most of the year, before the sun goes down, crows fly to a communal roost. They may fly for miles to get there, stopping here and there along the way to chat with other crows until they reach the roost, where they'll all sleep together, perhaps as many as a thousand in one place. (I've never seen a roost myself; one report says up to 40,000 crows may roost in one spot, another says that a roost may be a few hundred to two million.)

The only time crows build individual nests in their territory is during spring, when they become quite secretive to protect their young from predation. You may spy them from afar, carrying nest-building materials in their beaks. During this time, after the eggs are laid and when they're newly hatched, crows become even more skittish and standoffish than usual.

So if the crows suddenly disappear, don't worry—check your watch and calendar and you may understand why.

Do you want to be friends with crows?

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© 2014 Joanna

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      Nice Crow Lady 2 weeks ago

      I have a family of backyard crows. I too felt worried about feeding, but I have observed that they won't become dependent. They have activity (a life) that does not depend on a humans schedule. I don't usually feed yr round except for a couple of stragglers that hang around throughout the winter. I provide watermelon on my balcony during fledging. I would rather that they nest elsewhere, but I'm tolerant. It is stressful too me specially when they stand guard 24/7 as there babies bounce from bush to bush on the ground. Neighborhood cats hang around and makes me nervous for them. When I feed I don't stick around. I only feed when they sit at my kitchen window while I'm cooking or doing the dishes. They like small slices of seeded bread w/ light peanut butter, chicken, boiled eggs (usually will pick out the yolk and leave the rest) and cherries. They see me in the window and roost at the window giving me goo goo eyes. They turn their nose up sometimes and just hang around roosting on the back of the patio chair. They are very teratorial and rarely a war accept in the spring time. I think the demand to keep the brooder fed and the fledging fed is stressful so any food no matter how hard to obtain is sought after by a few unwelcomed families. They dive bomb the intruders just as if they would treat a hawk swooping by. One time I picked up one of their babies that I had felt fell out of the tree too soon and it really caused an uproar. So I just left it alone. It took a week or so before they stopped screaming at me and things returned to normal. They later brought this one to the balcony for watermelon. There is usually 3 to 4 babies in late spring and then sometimes one more baby much later. Around early fall there is just 1 primary close to me and 2-3 others hanging around (lurking and waiting until I shut the door) I don't know where everyone else goes after a summer of high activity, (probably inland to the city dump...its wet on the coast with high winds) but I'm glad to just have 1 or 2 greet me going into the winter. It's quiet and feels as if the vacationing family have left for the summer.

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      Tec Thomson 2 weeks ago

      I feed a family of 3 crows during my tea and dinner breaks at work. I'v seen the older pair bring up 2 young crows now. The current young one lands on my van door and takes the food from my hand. Bread grapes and peanuts are what I feed them.

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      Antonio 4 weeks ago

      I have a weekend place in upstate New York where I feed the ravens who live on my property spaghetti once every weekend on Sunday mornings.

      What is really incredible is I arrive Friday nights and am active in my yard all day Saturday and they leave me alone on Saturday but on Sunday afternoons after I return home from church they know it is feeding time so they circle me and even land on my shoulders as I walk back to my home to get the spaghetti I prepared the night before.

      So they not only recognize me but they know the specific day of the week they will get their treat.

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      an soegijo 4 weeks ago

      my friends (several territorial couples in the neighbourhood) are european hoodie crows. we have been acquainted for years; the pair whose territory i live in come to my window every day and consent (with due caution) to eat from my hand. they can communicate a preference and, as social birds, can also apparently enjoy hanging out with compatible humans. they raise and educate their children with great care (and strictness) for nearly a whole year, usually. one oldish pair still has their daughter with them after more than 3 years; she was handicapped with crippled feet as a young bird, but that is scarcely noticeable now.

      Although cautious, they are extremely quick to return eye contact and under the right circumstances one can establish an initial contact very quickly.

      i suppose that these opportunistic birds have been following us for as long as there have been humans, maybe even longer. Most humans have forgotten this, but the crows quite evidently have not.

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      Graham and Karen walls 4 weeks ago

      We have been feeding them for years on digestive biscuits,as soon as we open the tin they are there. We are both chefs and at our work,at a wooded area we give them left over quiche,sausage rolls and dumplings and they are at our house when we finish work. They have names,Russell and sheryl crow,vocal( as he makes unusual un crow noises) grandpa ,splodge and hook. Wonderful wee characters and they always bring their new family every season

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      Bill 6 weeks ago

      They love Kimbles and Bits dog food. Puppy variety is best. Spread it on the ground or in a feeder. I find they are not too interested in produce. They love a chicken carcus broken into manageable pieces. Scrap KFC is a winner and they love cheese.

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      Papa kachallas 2 months ago

      The other day, I walked past a group of crows, and they flew up and waddled up right to my foot, pecked it, looked up at me, then screeched at me by making their hilarious noise which most people speak it in English, the 'car'!

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      Penny 2 months ago

      We just moved to this area. I never saw crows where we lived before. I was several blocks from my new house when I spotted some crows. I rolled down my window and craziely told them to stop by my house for a treat. I swear that when I got home there were 2 crows sitting high on the tree at the back of our property. I've been feeding them for several weeks. They are so interesting and beautiful.

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      Amy 2 months ago

      Hi!

      That's a really cool story, it made my day

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      Mike Jenkins 2 months ago

      We had a crow who seemed like she was approaching us for a long time. Once she was in a tree top a couple of houses away, and I decided to see if she's come if offered a cracker. She did. I tossed it on the ground and she took it. Over time she would come and take cheese off our front porch railing left there for her. Finally one day, she took it out of my hand. Something about the way the crow acted made me think it was a female. I named her Nancy.

      Nancy had a mate, who acted more like a standoffish, ornery crow. But he was curious and wanted to get in on the food trick, too. He was much less interested in eating out of my hand, but that's what I wanted them to do. It prevented it from becoming too big a thing and attracting too many crows, and leaving food out would attract other feral critters we didn't want. I named Nancy's mate Fagin.

      One day Fagin showed up on our roof as we were working in the back yard. I tossed him a stale hamburger bun. He wasn't enthusiastic about it, but I looked up sometime later and he and the bun were gone. I ran a couple of errands, and returned after about an hour and parked out front. I was removing a piece of equipment from the trunk, when something went plop at my feet. It was the hamburger bun. I looked up, there was Fagin sitting on top of the telephone pole I was parked under. The bun was intact. Fagin made his point, I got him some cheese.

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      Stevie 2 months ago

      That post by Debbie Dube touched me deeply. Such a sweet and sad story. But I have to say I was very irritated by the commenter that said she "gave her crow cancer". You can't "give" anyone cancer, as if it's some communicable disease. You could cause an animal or bird to develop cancer if you exposed them to toxic chemicals or radiation, but it's a moot point, because the lady clearly said the vet DX'd the crow's illness as avian pox, which has no similarity to cancer at all, being a communicable disease. Whoever made that comment, I would advise to read things through before making ignorant statements. There's an old saying: "Better to keep your mouth closed and be thought a fool, than to open it and remove all doubt."

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      Michelle 3 months ago

      They LOVE dry cat food!

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      Marcia P 3 months ago

      Aileen, follow this link for several variation on the counting rhyme

      http://www.surlalunefairytales.com/boardarchives/2...

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      Rose 3 months ago

      I have been putting out unsalted peanuts very erratically for a year and a half. I do the same whistle when I throw the nuts in my field behind the house. I am pleased to know that I probably have a great relationship with them I didn't even know! I thought they would be more interactive. I always speak to them when they fly over when I am mowing or out with my horses. I also hear them cawing from the nearby tree and I will go out and give peanuts if I hear them.

      On thing I think is interesting is that they will stay in the old dead tree when I scatter nuts. But when I walk away they will quietly leave. I think they worry others not in their family will see and they don't want to share! Then they come back an hour or so later.

      They will when I whistle to let them know I am throwing peanuts they will fly directly over my head and I swear they are saying thanks!

      Only one time in the winter one swooped and did a cool sideways flight maneuver and I know it was for me.

      Thanks for the article! I will keep up my relationship especially now since I see that is the way they are. Loved the book Gifts of the Crow. You have to read it if you haven't.

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      Keri Knuthson 3 months ago

      When I lived in Los Angeles there was a community of crows that lived in my neighborhood. They appeared to be all related and would ban together to chase strange birds out of the area. They used to come down and eat the dog food in my backyard and the dogs would chase them, so I started throwing some out front for them to eat undisturbed. One day as I was driving home, I saw a boy getting dive-bombed by the crows and he was holding up a plastic tub over his head so they wouldn't get him. I asked him what was going on and he said that there was a baby crow that landed in the neighbor's yard and he was trying to get it out of there because there was a dog in the yard. As soon as I got out of my car, the crows stopped attacking him and watched me. I went over to the neighbors and looked in their fence. Sure enough there was a fledgling crow in the middle of the grass not moving. The dog was watching it from the patio. I went inside my house and got a towel and went back across the street. All the while I was a little worried they would attack me too, but they weren't even cawing, they were just watching. I picked the baby up in a towel and inspected him. He seems okay so I placed him up in the ivy on the retaining wall in a safe space and left him. The crows came down and checked him out after I walked away. They ended up feeding him from there until he was old enough to fly.

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      Mike and Sally 3 months ago

      We were driving in NW Calgary, AB and a crow with a broken wing bounced across a four lane road and up to a campus lawn. We got out and with very little effort walked up to it and gently covered it with a jacket leaving jus its head out. The crow did not appeared to be fearful and gave us the impression it new we were helping it. We took the friendly featured fried to a bird rescue facility north of the city and they were glad to help and said they would pin its wing and that it stood a good chance of recovery. We took some photos before turning him over sitting on our laps without the jacket and that bird was extremely calm and relaxed. They are ve ry inteligent birds.

      Watched a British documentry on crows as they followed a family for years in a large city and how they taught their young. They would pick up spiky covered walnuts fly up to a street light drop them on the street wait for the cars to drive over them and crack them open and on the red light fly down and get dinner.

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      Ken Grizzle 3 months ago

      My niece had a crow that she raised and it could say a few words very plainly. It used to play games with a stick and the dog.

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      Crow Swimsaway 3 months ago

      Good Fun! Thanks for the interesting and useful ideas.

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      evad 3 months ago

      I have been friends with a pair for years now . I hadn't been home for nine months. I returned home for a visit. Before my plane had landed the crows were in the backyard making a huge racket. Just sitting on the t.v. wire cawing at the door. When my wife picked me up at the airport she said "oh by the way your crows know your coming home". They were waiting for me when I got home.

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      Rockin Robin 3 months ago

      First off, I'm glad you've discovered the awesome relationship we can develop with wildlife.

      But, given what you wrote about people trying to run them over, why are you throwing their food into the road? Seems counterintuitive...

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      Valerie richmond 3 months ago

      I used to feed 2 crows at 7am daily. My former apartment had patio doors off the bedroom and living rooms, and they were always open, even in winter. I was not feeling well one morning and slept in. At 7:30 am, they both appeared at my bedroom door, cawing to waker me up!

      A few years later, I moved about 10 blocks away and shortly afterwards 2 crows started visiting me on my balcony. Wonder if they are the same ones?

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      Rebecca 3 months ago

      I lived for several years in Arctic Alaska where all birds leave for the winter. Except ravens. The birds left not because of the cold but for lack of food. Ravens apparently were both strong enough and smart enough to feed themselves until the sun returned. In one location, where I had to walk to work, a raven and I would be the only visible living creatures on the road. So I talked to the raven. The Raven gave every appearance of listening and often answered. We kept each other company.

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      Monique 3 months ago

      Just today I was sitting at my desk and heard the crows cawing for about 3 minutes straight. Unusual. I looked out the window and what did I see but a bobcat sauntering across my driveway.

      Thank you crows for alerting me to that beautiful sighting.

      I've lived in my current mountain location for a year now and have appreciated the crows from afar, but never realized I could befriend them. A few weeks ago I noticed that the bread that I tossed into the open compost pit outside disappeared pretty quickly. I put two and two together and now I get extra bread just for them and toss some pieces out to them regularly.

      I like to think that they knew I was hoping for a bobcat or mountain lion sighting and alerted me to it.

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      Jennifer 3 months ago

      I have made friends with one crow. He came last summer every day at 5:30pm and sat on a tree and just sat there. When I started noticing him there, I started talking to him. "Hi, What are you doing?" I made a point to go out every evening at 5:30 just to talk to him. He always came to visit me. When it got cold and winter came I stopped going out to see him. But now its June and he has come back. Or maybe he never went away... I have never fed him but I think he likes me just the same.

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      Bev 3 months ago

      I've had crows steal pork chops waiting to be grilled... I ran in the house to get something for a minute and came out to see a crow on top of the garage with his prize.. lol Who knew... ?

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      Selena 3 months ago

      I live in Seattle and my husband and I have been friends with the neighborhood crows for years. We feed them every morning before work. We leave them food on the front porch hand rail and they fly up from the power line as soon as we are walking down the steps. Our neighbor even started feeding them. We leave them nuts, popcorn, pizza crusts and they LOVE fries. Sometimes we hear them calling outside for treats. They are delightful. We call them Jasper and Juanita.

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      Danielle 3 months ago

      I would never use peanuts as that is one of the big nonos in the bird world ask any avian vet/nutritionist. Peanuts are a major risk for carrying Aflatoxins, fungus (aspergillus being most common and largest cause of bird deaths from fungus). I would prefer not having folks killing them with kindness.

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      Kate MacPherson 3 months ago

      I live at the coast. Am in the Pacific Flyway, consequently loads of all kinds of birds. My favorites, though, are a pair of ravens. They have lived in the vicinity for a few years and are here every morning for food. I give them high quality seeded bread, four slices. "Mama" jumps in the air when she sees the bread coming. She waits until she is certain no other birds take the bread. Then she takes a piece and rolls it into a tight roll. Then she takes another piece and flies off to a very tall tree. I feel that she has a nest there. Her mate, smaller than she, takes the other two pieces. Mama sits on the railing in the early morning cawing until she sees me in the bedroom window. She is my alarm clock. She watches me through the window.

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      Dave B. 3 months ago

      Walmart has squirrel & crow food that the crows like. It has sunflower seeds, peanuts, pumpkin seeds & especially... pistachios. Crows LOVE pistachios.

      I tried feeding them every day at exactly noon, it failed. Crows can't tell time. Be patient & the crows will eventually start to trust you & come closer. They don't like to be watched. If you turn your back the crows will come closer, if you look at them they'll act nervous. If you feed them & stop for a while they'll get discouraged pretty easily & stop coming around. It doesn't matter what clothes you wear, they recognize your face. If you've seen one crow you've literally seen every crow, you can't even tell their genders apart, but somehow they've got the ability to recognize humans. I've been told it does help to talk to them because they can recognize our voices although I can't confirm that, I do it anyway.

      While they're slightly different, ravens appear in almost every religion.

      If you see a large group of crows those are young crows, like teenagers. Scientists think they stick together to learn from each other. At sundown you can see large groups of crows flying to the west.

      I've heard of people getting gifts from crows that's never happened to me.

      That's a great story Debbie Dube.

      Keeping a crow as an actual pet is illegal in the USA. Splitting their tongue is not only unnecessary but cruel.

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      Pam 3 months ago

      For a while last summer I fed my neighbors peanuts in the shell. Then winter came and they moved off to their winter roost. Although they have come back this summer, they haven't eaten the peanuts. I stopped putting them out because those pesky chipmunks would eat them. Once, before I started feeding, when I was walking to my car, a crow sat on top of the trash can tapping the lid. I was very close to it and it just kept tapping away in a kind of rhythmic pattern. I wonder if it was telling me to start putting out a treat now and then.

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      Paula 3 months ago

      I have been feeding a family of crows for at least seven years, first thing in the morning. They recognize me and starting calling as soon as I walk out the door to feed them. And the few times that I have been later than usual, they let me know! Chicken, dog kibble, nuts, fruits, cereal are mainstays. They are calling to me as I write this!

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      jeanette 3 months ago

      About 30 year ago I lived in Alberta Canada. As part of my job I was speaking to a woman on the phone and could hear weird sounding voices. She explained they were pet crows who lived in her house. She explained that when their tongue's are split lengthwise they are able to talk. They do not "parrot" words but have real but limited conversations. Not sure if this was/is illegal but it should add some depth to our interaction with them.

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      Donna 3 months ago

      Recently I saw two crows loudly cawing at each other while they flew from tree to tree. It sounded like a loud argument.

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      bob 3 months ago

      Christ, you're an idiot. Crows kill and eat every type of bird that is smaller than them, their fledglings, and their eggs.

      They're worse than cats for the number of birds they kill - read a book - look at nature - what a dummy.

      if you're into crows, great, but I'm for killing every mother one of them so that other birds can multiply and not decline because of your "wee friends". Jesus.

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      Gina Bergeron 3 months ago

      Crows are my spirit animal. Everywhere I go they are there. I absolutely love them. This article was a great read.

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      Deidra Smith 3 months ago

      Cornbread. They LOVE homemade cornbread. No sugar.

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      PositivelySue 3 months ago

      First the positive experience: when we were moving in to our new home back in November, a crow flew overhead and dropped a walnut on our front porch - a housewarming present? Or were we supposed to crack it open? In any case, I was honored and still have the walnut.

      Now the not so positive: the peanuts may be a bad idea for the humans in the neighborhood. One of our neighbors posted on NextDoor that his daughter suddenly had a severe allergic reaction, and they couldn't figure out why...then they discovered that their across-the-fence neighbor was putting out peanuts for the crows, and the crows were very kindly dropping the shells in the yard. Not good for kids or adults who might suddenly stop breathing because of the allergy. It's very sad.

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      Leslie Demich 3 months ago

      Several years ago, I started putting peanuts out for my crows. But I found I was not only feeding the crows, I was also feeding the starlings, and, by golly, the field rodents. So I worked with the crows for awhile to help them understand that I would not put food out for them unless they are fully present to take it ALL. Also, I shifted food to a very high quality organic dry dog food that has big enough nuggets that the starlings can't eat them. The crows love them. Nowadays, they come to the railing of my deck and announce that they are present with a nice loud CAW! Just one CAW! I put out enough food for them to grab in one visit. If they want more, they have to ask for more. We have also arrived at agreement that that one junco and that one towhee can each have one nugget, but that's it.

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      Kathy fraser 3 months ago

      Just this past week the crows who are mostly in my tall old Oak tree have begun bringing their food- mostly bread & piazza crusts. Into my birdbath! Then flying away w it. Funny.

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      JAL 3 months ago

      They eat the baby birds from my yard, grabbing them out of the nest. Or when the babies are learning to fly. Evil. EVIL. (I know, I know: Nature. Predators. But, No, I don't like them. Nasty.

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      Dez 3 months ago

      I had been feeding crows in the morning around my rural area for about a year (something to do after my grandma passed away and I found information on the intelligence of crows). It got to the point where, if I decided to sleep in, they would land on the roof and peck at the gutter to wake me up to feed them (I have a significant other as a witness to this). I usually use either bread or dog food, with the occasional leftovers I have forgotten about in the fridge. I still try to feed them, but it's not a consistent schedule anymore. And they do tend to talk to me, it seems, when they are sitting in a big sweet gum tree in my pasture. I thoroughly enjoy them.

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      LadyGewGaw 3 months ago

      I have had my "pet" crows for about five years now. I click my tongue when it is feeding time and they come, always close and have a few times taken food from my hand. They hang around a lot and I have had to limit the mornings to feeding time otherwise they are bugging me all day long. Right now they are more aggressive because it is baby season, but once the little ones are flying, the parents bring them to our house as well. The babies are so cute, their eyes are blue and their lips (beak) are pink, and yes, they make a lot of noise wanting to be fed. the one thing I really like about the crows is they let me know what is going on in my 'hood. They have distinct calls and I can tell when there is something around they don't like. The raccoons are a pain, but the crows interestingly point out the owls that leave nearby as well, so I have seen a lot of owls that I wouldn't have know were there, if not for my crows. The boy crow we call Steve French and the girl crow is Willie. They have been married for about four years, Steve French used to have a different mate, but she disappeared and then Willie came along. She is very submissive to Steve French. I find the best thing to feed them is dry cat food, as there is a lot of protein in it and I read somewhere that cat food is better than dog food for crows. Anyways, they are extremely interesting birds, I am very thankful they are my friends. But I wonder why it is that dogs are so threatened by crows, and not by any other birds?

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      Wana 3 months ago

      I work at an avian rescue for parrots..just wanted to add....there is more nutrition in raw peanuts. Chocolate can kill a bird. Thank you for this article. It was fun to read it and the comments.

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      CJ of York 3 months ago

      Wonderful article! I can't wait to buy some peanuts. :) I actually live under a roost in Washington state. It's mind blowing to see the swarms of cross every morning. There are always cross in the sky here and all around the neighborhood. They are so beautiful to listen to, I regret that I have to move this summer.

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      Vicki Brockish 3 months ago

      I'm in Montana and we have Ravens. Will the same system work with them?? Crows and Ravens are so smart and I love watching them.

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      scott 3 months ago

      I'd like to give it a try. In the fall, there's a very large communal roost that sets up about 2 miles from my home. I pass it on the way home from work. Thousands of them come. Truely a sight to be seen. Though I feel bad for the homes close by. Need to have a garage to keep the cars clean!

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      Leslie 3 months ago

      Debbie dube gave her crow cancer smh

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      Diana K. Perkins 3 months ago

      I feed them cat chow.

      Also, a couple of years ago, when I was feeding my chickens I noticed a crow hang out everytime I went to let the chickens out out and feed them. I started to feed the crow at the same time. It became a routine and the crow (who I named Mikey) would hang close and get quite excited if I had left over meat (which I gave to the chickens). He disappeared after a couple of weeks. I imagined he might have been a female who was nesting. I still have others hang around and still leave little piles of cat food out for them.

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      Larry Huffman 3 months ago

      We used to have a lot of crows at our last house. I would sit in the yard often in the shade of a tree and they would just hang out. I was never aggressive with them and they seemed comfy with me. Two things happened that I believe warmed the crows up to me, and they are things that made me think that these birds are smarter than I have been giving the credit for.

      The first was how I treated a fledgling. I thought it was a baby kicked from a nest. It was just sitting by the driveway. I was worried about it and so I picked it up and put it no n a large parrot cage I had in the garage until I could figure it out. Well, while I was inside reading online how big of a mistake I had made, the neighborhood crows were beginning the protest our garage. I went out and carried the fledgling out by hand and placed it ceremoniously and for all crows to see, in the flower bed. Then I went over and sat in my chair. To my surprise the crows ignored me and cared for their young one. The fledgling decided he liked my company and hung around my chair and the crows calmly watched over us. I was afraid I had seriously hurt my relationship with my friends and instead they seemed to warm up to me. Could they have sensed I was only trying to help? Who knows?

      The next was a sad incident. We lived across the road from the sports fields of a high school. We also had the biggest tree in the entire neighborhood. So we were the hub of lots of bird activity. One evening on the field a couple of boys were throwing a football around. One threw the ball, hard and intentional, at a crow that was hopping around, killing it. When I saw I jumped up and yelled at the kid, walking across the street towards the field. I found myself yelling at them with a swarm of crows squawking like crazy at them. It was pretty surreal...I think I must have looked like some crazy bird man to the kids, who looked scared and ran. I checked on the bird, which had other crows around him as I did. The were all being loud and agitated, but also wanted to be around their fallen friend. I walked away, sad at what I had just witnessed, and sat in my chair. The crows were loud and bothered for another couple of hours, but a number of them hung around my yard like they usually did when o sat out. Again, it felt in some odd way that the incident put me and my crow friends on the same side and it felt as if there was really some solidarity there.

      Perhaps I am over thinking it or reading a lot into it, but I am not so sure. I think crows are smart, highly social creatures who have spent generations among humans. I may not be reading anything into it at all. Those crows may have been what passes as neighbors between a bird and human family. We spent hours in that yard together. :)

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      Nash Clapp 3 months ago

      I live on the Niagara Escarpment but, don't see as many crows as I'd like to!

      I have shelled peanuts that I bought for the occasion of seeing some... hoping this happens soon!

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      Scott888 3 months ago

      My crows get leftovers from my Indian ringneck. They love chicken bones. I walk out said say come on boys time to eat, they land on the wires and wait for me to toss out the food. They follow me to the local bars and restaurants and even to the grocery store. Once while eat at a bar/restaurant one actually flew under a covered patio I was sitting at looking for me to feed it.

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      MICHELLE 3 months ago

      I HAVE A SMALL GROUP THAT I FEED BREAD TO & THEY KNOW WHEN I COME OUT OF MY HOUSE

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      Mike 3 months ago

      Nice article. I think one reason it is okay to feed crows unlike many other animals is that they are so adaptable, including being omnivorous. It is natural for them to find and take advantage of different feeding opportunities to such an extent that I think they are less likely to run into any trouble accepting some food. Here in Albuquerque I have seen them going after pet food and they do the same at the zoo which is near the Rio Grande River where they often roost. I have found at least hundreds of them roosting in the cottonwood trees alongside the water and have fed them at a park before. I know that fall and winter and cooler weather are on the way when the crows show up in the city every year.

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      Samantha 3 months ago

      I have never befriended crows. But last year on the college campus I would chat with a magpie after lunch. I'm not sure it was the same one but every day I saw a magpie so I like to think it was.

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      Bonitacassel 3 months ago

      I've had a crow family as friends for years around the golf course I walked my dog. They recognize me and my car as I slow down when they are in the street or puddle by the roadside. They never scare off for me. I didn't think to feed them but just so happen to buy a large bag of unsalted peanuts the other week. Will try and repay them for their trust and company.

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      mdshonty 3 months ago

      I have a pair of crows who have made our backyard part of their territory. The large tree just outside our second story kitchen window is a favorite perch in the morning for them. I also share space with Pheobe, my tortie cat. She has learned the distinctive caw of the male crow, and when he sits in the tree and caws, she runs to the kitchen window for some bird TV. They both just sit there, looking at each other.

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      Melissa 3 months ago

      You know what those crows sounded like they were saying? "She's back! She's not dead! Hooray!"

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      Jim Grandone 3 months ago

      Alton, Illinois (just north of St. Louis, Missouri) has a murder of crows that consists of hundreds of the fine black bird. You can see them near the river in the spring in trees. It is a raucous bunch of big birds and to see them take flight is an amazing visual and audio experience. I grew up there and crows were always around.

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      Robin Plume 3 months ago

      We always have crows in our neighborhood and years ago, I found a dead one in my front yard under the power line. I moved it and then laid it out on the driveway. For some reason I felt really sad about its death so I just sat down next to the body for a bit. I may have stroked the feathers and cooed some. Suddenly another crow landed about ten feet away and slowly hopped over to about three feet from me. We both just sat there for quite some time. Crow flew up to the wire and I moved on, leaving the body for their continued mourning. It was quite an experience and since then all the crows in the neighborhood seem more friendly, not fearful at all

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      Robbie Adkins 3 months ago

      I have been feeding the crows for a few years now. Mine won't touch fruit, but love bread and any kind of meat. We live next to a golf course and I have witnessed a gathering of at LEAST 100 in the trees there. Two years ago a young crow fell into my front yard, not yet ready to fly. I put it in an empty planter box and put it on top of a bush to keep it safe. It was there for about a week and I fed it egg and water. They do squawk to me to feed them!

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      Debbie Dube 3 months ago

      I became friends with a crow.. I would sit at my kitchen window and have my coffee every morning. One morning, an overly large crow flew onto the small roof right outside my window while I was having my coffee and I said "Hi Crow". Little did I know that name would stick. I decided he wanted some peanut butter on bread. So I opened the window, he flew and I put some pieces of the PB bread out on roof . I yelled out come and eat Crow. and he did. it became a ritual for him to come and eat next to the window where I sat . I would call out CROW, and he would fly to the roof. after some time I decided to take it to the front yard. I live in a busy city so its not like I spend time in my yard but I did this day, and he flew about 10 feet away from me, and landed on the ground, and I fed him his sandwich. So whenever I wanted to see him I would call his name which was now CROW and he would come. His family would scatter around but never come close..

      One time I will never forget his antics..There was a coopers hawk that was always grabbing the small birds and one time this hawk grabbed a pigeon and was in the grass starting to kill it. Crow and 2 other crows surrounded it, puffed up their feathers to look huge and strutted like chickens, screaming , trying to scare the hawk but it didn't work . I walked over to the hawk and she tried to fly with the pigeon in her talons, and dropped the pigeon right in front of me. It was still alive with a sharp dig right into its chest. I picked it up and it died in my hands.. crow was so upset.

      He and I would become best friends after that. I would bring my food out and sit on the grass and he would come sit right next to me and eat with me. This was over a 2 year period.. he totally trusted me and he was MY CROW, though he lived outside. I was always amazed at how he would talk to me and try to mimic me and he was so large compared to the others..But one day I noticed some weird things growing on his beak and his feet. As time went on these growths got bigger . It was affecting his health. He was not himself and now one was growing near his eye..he would sit and eat a little but was limping and not flying well. one day he flew down next to me and looked very weak. I went up and got my cat carrier and he let me pick him up and put him in it. The crows were swooping down at me and freaking out. I brought him to a vet that treated birds and he told me he was very sick and had avian pox. He compared the growths to as our cancer growths, He said he was in a lot of pain and he was very contagious to his murder(the family of crows are called a murder) we had to put him to sleep! I was heartbroken. The vet was amazed how this crow was attached to me and I held him while the vet did what he had to do.. He also did not charge me anything for the visit.

      When I came home with the empty carrier the crows were swooping down at me , looking for their granddaddy! They were all screaming. I tried to explain to them . I came in crying. But I have the most wonderful memories of CROW. He was my friend and he showed me his way of life! I loved him and I miss him but smile when I think of him!

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      WILLIAM 3 months ago

      THEY EAT SHELLED CORN AND BRING ROCKS IN PAYMENT

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      Molly harvey 3 months ago

      I befriended a small murder, and fed them unsalted peanuts and catfood. Someone in my apartment complex complained and I had to stop. I try feeding them on the street, but they don't like that. I still caw at them and we remain friendly, but it is not the same.

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      Beth Chapman, Wellfleet, MA 3 months ago

      I watched a pair of fish crows build their nest in a pine tree near my home. And yesterday, I saw two larger crows with four smaller crows and I assume they were the hatchlings, as they are no longer in the tree. Can crows have four chicks?

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      Aileen 3 months ago

      does any one know the rest of this ditty?

      One crow sorrow

      Two crows joy

      Three crow a letter

      Four crow a beau

      .....

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      Heather 3 months ago

      I recently rescued a young crow from my dogs. I kept her/him in a box with a towel over night to help it get over shock and let it go in the morning, after I knew it was ok and didn't need medical help. He/She visits me regularly by sitting on the phone lines in my backyard and doing the sideways look at me. I plan to start putting peanuts out as a treat for her and family.

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      Heather 4 months ago

      Feed this crow at my work. Ive heard how hard it is to get them to trust. But this one was surprisingly easy. He mastered the routine pretty quickly. Its may right now in ohio. So i assume its nesting in the tree by my work. He even brought a friend. Slowly working on the second ones trust. Didnt kno about the roost. I did notice some days i wldnt see him. Figured it was the poor weather.

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      Di. 5 months ago

      A Crow appeared one day and stayed . It observed me as much as i observed him ... it took my food and water It soon found a mate and so I had two come to visit . They disappeared for a short while and then reappeared ... with their baby Crow ... who they showed where it was safe to drink and feed ... They are very scatty and nervous birds ... I watch them from a distance ... they now come to a whistle . However, it is always on their terms ... They give me beautiful fly overs and squawk with joy when they see me outside ... they are so playful and clever ... They often defend their territory ... going up and chasing away huge Buzzards and other birds of prey ... and now a pair of Ravens have moved in ... who needs TV ?... It all happens here . I've watched the Crows try to dismantle aerials on the roofs ... little devils ! They see everything and miss nothing ... I find them

      fascinating :)

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      6 months ago

      so its been since 2yrs there is this crow that comes at my window everyday between 12-1 and takes his fill from either my dads hands and seldom from me or my mum.. its unlike for a crow to literally take it straight from a human hand..

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      OraliaChristine 8 months ago

      I feed the neighborhood crows dog food. I sprinkle it out on the sidewalk. They seem to really like it. I usually do it before I go to work. My work uniform is all black and I think they know who I am. Sometimes when I get home there are a couple of scouts that watch for me. Occasionally I think they call at me for food. I recently read they are very good at face recognition. I'm going to work at it a little harder this summer. We've got lots of snow on the ground and they haven't been around much lately. I miss them!

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      Ash 9 months ago

      We actually have a group of crows and ravens flocking together locally there are only two or three crows who travel independently or occasionly with a raven, but the ravens will fly together all the time there are about five of them and one magpie who tags along, I've recently started giving them some scraps since its winter and I spend most of my time in there territory range.

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      Vidya 9 months ago

      I want to know the different ways by how we take care of crows

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      Debbie 9 months ago

      I work at a subway so the bread that is not soft they let me take home I have been feeding a flock of them for about two months every morning they come and make a noise to let me know they are there then I feed them yesterday a flock of land seagull's came and my asshole neighbor shot one now everyone of my babies are scared again of me ..I'm s9oooooooo upset

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      PsychProf 9 months ago

      I've talked to the crows on my college campus for years. This year I decided to start feeding them. It only took two days for them to figure it out. At first, there were only 3 or 4; now there are around 10-15 who regularly come when I call. They are on the lookout for me in the mornings, because I come at the same time each day. Since I leave at different times, they're around sometimes, but sometimes are elsewhere. I throw handfuls of unshelled peanuts on the ground. A few will come within 5-10 feet of me, but most stay much farther away. I leave peanuts on top of my car, too, so they know my car, too, even though it looks exactly like half the other cars in the lot.

      I've been doing it for about 2 months and recently the Seagulls have discovered what's going on. They're pushy and loud and as many as 30-40 of them will mob the peanuts. The crows have learned that I will shoo away the gulls, but that I don't intend to shoo them. I've learned to feed the crows under the trees, as the Seagulls tend to be most comfortable in the open parking lot. I've also learned that is I throw a handful of peanuts and let the gulls fight over them, then walk away, the crows will follow me and we have a private feeding farther away.

      It's been great fun. Of course, you have to be comfortable enough to look like a lunatic yelling at the sky. It's interesting to see people's reactions, though more and more people are beginning to catch on and think it's entertaining.

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      An Interested Fellow 9 months ago

      Has anyone ever received any gifts from crows or ravens? I've seen one story where this family made friends with these ravens and they would bring them shiny objects.

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      Charles Jaye 10 months ago

      We live in southern Oregon in a semi-rurual area. We had a dog that died two years ago. She protected her turf and did not like birds. But we fed the small ones anyway - seeds. One day, a crow came to the feeder and ate some seeds. This became a regular practice. Not wanting to deprive the small birds of seeds, I started using TV dinner dishes with rocks in them to hold them onto the deck railing, and gave them part of my meals. They love fried chicken, turkey, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, corn, and even the brownie.

      In the morning, I make a cheese melt - using a slice of multi-grain bread and a slice of cheddar that I cut up. Thirty-five seconds in the microwave melts the cheese onto the bread. I cut off a half a dozen pieces for them, which they love. They grab two or three pieces at a time and fly off with them.

      In the evening, I used to call them by name - one name - Escrow - like ABBA. They would come. Then one day I got a whistle at the fair, and started using it, as it makes a more shrill, louder sound. They would hear that and have transferred my verbal call to the whistle as a food command.

      They are wild, and definitely standoffish. Especially when the baby was born. They would carry huge mouth (beak actually)full of food off. Eventually, they brought the baby to us. So now, three of them (even saw a fourth a few times) visit us daily. They are difficult to differentiate. Although the female seems to be mouthier and around more often than the male. Her head is a little flatter, so she is fairly easy to spot. Plus, when she drinks water (from another tV dinner tray) she drinks from the segment that has a rock in it. Why? Who knows? Her preference. She has recently taken to dropping food into the water then removing the food in a few seconds.

      They can sit on the roof edge and watch me in the kitchen preparing a meal. The glass window provides an element of safety for them. They are curious to see what I do in here.

      Even when outside, they will fly just above my head and make noise. I speak to them in friendly tones (baby talk) so they know who I am when they see me.

      I used to have a wild squirrel visit me when I lived back east. The squirrel would recognize me on the street and run down a telephone pole to get a peanut from me. So I had to keep a supply of peanuts in my pocket for her. I used to pick peanuts from a barrel, so I would especially get the triple peanuts for her - so she would get an extra nut to take back home.

      Critters know who their friends are. And while they may not be as friendly as domesticated critters, their level of trust can be increased a bit over time. So far, the crows have been actively fed for about 2 years now. I would like to think I am making a difference in their lives. But I see them on the ground searching for grubs, etc. to supplement their diets.

      As winter approaches, I have to feed them earlier. If they don't come due to impending darkness, I put the food up in a hanging basket and save it for morning. They make their noises to tell me they are about. So far, we are tolerating each other's company. But I am not going to try to push it - as they are better off remaining wild and wary of danger.

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      Lisa W 10 months ago

      So I have a pair that visit on and off all day for the last 2 years. I usually offer them dog kibble, but they really love cheese and chicken. The female is friendlier and often sits on the gutter just inches from kitchen window where she watches me in hopes I will come out with another treat. This pair also flies along on my dog walks and recognize my car when I return to my community gates and will follow along. I am very attached to these two!!

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      Joe Piker 11 months ago

      Been feeding them for about a month now. I can walk about and they don't fly off, or at least one, named Jackson. However no way to tell male/female. Anyway the like bagel chunks. One time I had some past due raw chicken breasts, I flung them into the yard and drove away. Upon return we had a mob of them or perhaps a murder of them? When we returned they naturally flew away. But it was very cool to see them in mass. The take turns eating. One or two look out while one eats. Also they have pecking order as boss crow eats first.

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      Leah 2 years ago

      I've always wanted to try this; especially lately with how there are so many in my area where I live by the university. They only come by my house every once in a while, but when they do I'm very careful not to frighten them or move too fast.

      They're pretty chill around me already. I fed them some pretzels once and haven't seen them in a while.

      At one point when I went out to my car, I saw them chillin half on the road and half on the sidewalk. They walked away a bit but othewise didn't seem concerned with my presence (I'm actually really good with animals in general.) Anyway I got in my car and turned around and left, and they didn't seem concerned for their safety even though they were MAYBE five feet in front of my car. I did back up a bit to make sure I didn't hit them, but it kind of surprised me. Anyway that's my little story, haha...