Perhaps no bird is as smart and cautious as crows which can solve puzzles, count and are able to easily outwit humans. You may be surprised to learn that crows can even imitate human voices. “Nothing is unreal as long as you can imagine like a crow,” the poet Munia Khan wrote and she is just one of the authors who has poetized these mysterious birds. But in our everyday life, we get to know them in a different way — as the pest birds. In rural areas, crows may inflict some damage to crops, in particular by pulling sprout or attack small animals such as lamb. However, nowadays, no significant impact is caused by this kind of crows’ behaviour. Most concerns are associated with crows being a nuisance pest and relate to their roosting sites and feeding habits in urban areas. Also, they spread baby pig disease what should be taken into account by those engaged in swine breeding. To help you eliminate these problems, we will elaborate on how to get rid of crows according to recommendations given by scientists.
Which is the best way to kill crows? How to poison a crow in case it is legal? If you don’t want to harm the birds, have a look at how to scare away crows using diverse solutions. Below, we also offer useful guidelines on the ways to keep crows out of the garden as they can damage it, especially when roosting in the vicinity. In addition, you may find helpful our review of TOP-9 Amazon.com products with best ratings.
Table of Contents:
- What You Should Know about Crows
- How To Get Rid Of Crows: What Scientists Say
- Comparison Table of Ways To Get Rid Of Crows
- Best Crow Repellents & Deterrents
Most problems are caused by crows in autumn and winter when they gather in large numbers and roost in urban areas or in the vicinity of human settlements. Bird feces are left on sidewalks, buildings, cars and other items of property that involves extra spending on cleaning services and makes the working lifespan of the automobile span. Noise created by crows at night and early in the morning disturb people living nearby. Also, these bird pests can cause damage to trees and structures where their roosts are located. In the latter case, roofing material is likely to be harmed by the birds. When roosting close to airports, crows pose a significant risk to air traffic safety.
What does a typical roosting site of crows look like? Margaret C. Brittingham, a professor of wildlife resources at PennState Extension, indicates that they choose sites which receive enough sunlight and may move to another place if the weather becomes unfavorable, in particular when the nest turns out to be unprotected from cold winds. Crows prefer urban areas establishing their roosts near large trees or on man-made structures such as buildings. Being potential disease carriers, crows pose a substantial hazard to human health. Basically, the matter concerns a risk of spreading baby pig disease in rural areas and avian cholera in a humid environment. What increases the risk is the fact that these birds have a habit to collect garbage and the disease incubation period lasts longer in them. Moreover, in places of the long-time presence of roosting sites, the fungus causing histoplasmosis can be detected. This disease is spread by inhalation, affects the lungs and is dangerous to humans.
Crow diet includes a variety of items ranging from seeds and fruits to insects, reptiles and carrions. Their lifetime normally does not exceed six years in the wild but the domesticated ones can live up to twenty years. Crows usually lay about five eggs hatching in a two-week period. These birds are extremely social creatures but particularly tend to congregate when they are not breeding.
As researchers from the Pennsylvania State University how to get rid of crows, crow control measures should be implemented in due time to bear fruit. At the beginning of autumn, roosts are typically smaller while over the course of winter the number of birds rises because of new crows arriving there. That is why, if you have decided on removing the roosting site from the area, do it early in autumn as later this will be much harder to accomplish. In winter, there will be more birds and they will get accustomed to the place. There are several methods believed by scientists to be effective: habitat modification, the use of plastic netting and fine wire; killing crows by targeted shooting or poisoning, frightening with pyrotechnics, exploders, distress calls, as well as applying repellents and setting traps. So, let’s have a look at them.
The first option you should consider is habitat modification — a set of measures aimed at reducing the appeal of the roosting site to the birds. To this end, remove or make thinner all large trees located close to the site so that it becomes vulnerable to heavy weather conditions, such as strong winds. Keep in mind that tree removal is not environmentally friendly while thinning one-third of the trees will serve them well. Although, there is no scientifically confirmed data that this approach works specifically with crows due to lack of tests, removing birds via habitat modification has a more lasting effect than other methods. When handling the problem of crow damage to crops in rural areas, provide an alternative source of food what is supposed to decrease the negative impact. In particular, spread whole corn and other kinds of grain, preliminary soaked in water, along the field.
Ron Johnson from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln has told us how to get rid of crows by creating physical barriers but has noticed that this is not viewed as an effective way to solve the problem in most cases. To protect the garden, the use of nylon or plastic netting will bring results. Lately, scientists have become increasingly interested in a method of protecting fields with the use of wires and, as a result, a significant number of studies have been conducted to assess its effectiveness. Some tests show that wire grids keep crows away while others do not show good results. Nobody is able to explain so far why is it so, but very idea is correct — birds normally do not see fine wires and when coming across the obstacle are repelled from the site. So what are the guidelines? Stretch a fine wire across the garden at a height of eight feet above the ground. In order to strengthen the effect, tie aluminum pans to the wires.
Killing crows may be effective as these smart birds tend to get accustomed to nonlethal methods. By targeted shooting, you will not only eliminate individual birds but also send a clear message to the rest of the flock that this site is not safe for them. This is likely to discourage crows from staying in the area and force them to relocate the roost. However, shooting is not recommended for urban areas. Another solution is using the pesticide DRC-1339, a toxicant with a restricted use and approved only in some states. The drawbacks for using the toxicant are that it does not eliminate the problem in the long run and may be perceived by some people as inhumane. As scientists from the Kansas State University stress, in urban areas, the number of crows may account for tens of thousands of birds which is why shooting is not believed to be practical. So, what other methods are suggested by the researchers? First of all, try tactics of frightening.
How To Scare Away Crows
A number of methods are suggested by scientists to harass crows including using pyrotechnics, exploders, distress calls, chemicals, lasers and electronic devices. These devices will be efficient in dispersing birds but only if applied properly. Specifically, implement these measures timely and combine different solutions. Frightening is particularly recommended to keep crows out of garden and crops. According to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln guidelines, animated owl models can effectively drive crows out from gardens and small-sized fields. They represent a moving model made of plastic which resembles an owl holding a crow as its prey.
Ultrasonic devices with a frequency exceeding 20 kHz do not work with crows as they simply do not hear these sounds. But there is other kind of equipment which has proven to be effective. Both in rural and urban areas, broadcasting of amplified recorded alarm and distress calls of crows is highly advised by wildlife experts as they send false danger warnings to the birds. Moreover, the more mobile the broadcast unit is, the better. In case you use a stationary one, turn it up to maximum volume. Electronic sound options, such as Av-Alarm, are also available but are considered to have poorer performance than the mentioned above solution. Nevertheless, all of them will come in handy as mixing diverse scaring calls will help you obtain desired results.
One more recommended way of frightening crows involves application of pyrotechnic devices which are easy to find in most stores. Because of their commercial availability, pyrotechnics are widely used for this purpose. To frighten birds, use devices firing from 15-millimeter pistols which are also known as bird bombs. Exploding pyrotechnics produce better results than racket bombs or whistle bombs as crows are logically more affected by noises in the air. Set off the pyrotechnics at dusk on a daily basis and practice it during a month. Hanging effigies of dead crows in the places of roosting trees will improve the results because the combination of the noise and the view of the dead crow effigy has a much greater impact on the birds, as it follows from the conducted research.
Apart from that, you may use gas exploders, flashing lights, water sprays, balloons, scarecrows and the like. However, take into account that these solutions should only be considered supplementary measures to the main, more long-lasting solutions. Chemicals can also be exploited to scare crows. The one suggested by scientists specifically for scaring crows away from the area is Avitrol with an active ingredient 4-aminopyridine. The use of this pesticide is restricted and can be purchased by professionals only. When injected by birds, the substance makes them feel disquiet and, as a result, signal this feeling to the others in the flock.
There are no repellents registered for crows but some solutions are applied to keep these pest birds away. These are methyl anthranilate, polybutenes and Avipel seed treatment, according to the National Wildlife Control Training Program. Researchers from the PennState Extension point out that an advantage for methyl anthranilate is that it does not have to be eaten by crows. What you need is to expose crows to the fog containing this ingredient in the place where they roost. This contact repellent irritates the birds and makes them feel uncomfortable, however, in order to fix the result, you should apply the solution many times. Keep in mind that repellents will be effective only when used in the combination with other methods and that they are short-lasting solutions. Another repellent, Avipel based on the naturally occurring active ingredient, protects newly planted seed from birds and crows in particular.
Crow trapping is particularly useful for the protection of valuable crops in the garden or in the areas with small population of these birds. Researchers from the Kansas State University warn that trapping may not work in some cases for three reasons. First, because crows can move over long distances. Second, capturing individual crows will not actually remove other members of the flock from the roosting site. Apart from that, traps require regular maintenance.
There are two types of traps confirmed to be effective in capturing crows. The first one captures birds without harming them and has jaws covered with rubber or tissue. These traps should be set in places where crows have been regularly observed. To entice them, bait the device with a model imitating a nest with eggs.
Another type of traps is suggested for using in winter and should have the size of no less than eight to ten feet square and five to six feet high. This trap is recommended for setting in the sites of crows’ congregation and should be baited with meat, corn or fruits. Water should also be available inside the trap and don’t forget to regularly replace food with a fresh one. Out of all captured crows, some should be left as decoys. The device will capture several birds daily but, as it was mentioned above, the number will be incomparable with a total population in the area.
|Removing or making trees near the roost thinner||habitat modification||long-lasting solution; thinning one-third of the tree benefits the tree; does not harm the birds; does not pose a hazard to humans||removing trees is not environmentally friendly solution; labor-consuming; is not scientifically proved to be effective for crows||9|
|Providing an alternative source of food||habitat modification||long-lasting solution; recommended for the protection of crops; does not harm birds; does not pose a hazard to humans||decreases the negative impact rather than eliminating the problem; labor-consuming; involves extra spending||10|
|Placing nylon or plastic netting||Exclusion||recommended for protecting the garden; does not harm birds, nor does it pose a risk to humans||keeps beneficial insects away from the plants; may not withstand the pressure; short-term solution||9|
|Placing fine wire||Exclusion||recommended for protecting the garden; birds do not see fine wires and, as a result, come across them; |
the method has gained increasing attention of scientists
|some scientific studies confirm effectiveness while others do not; short-term solution||10|
|Killing crows by a targeted shooting||Physical elimination||effective as crows get accustomed to nonlethal methods; scares other birds from the flock||the number of killed crows will be too small to decrease the birds’ presence in the area; shooting is not recommended in urban areas; short-term solution||7|
|Poisoning (DRC-1339, Avitrol)||Physical elimination||effective as crows get accustomed to nonlethal methods; scares other birds from the flock||considered by many people as inhumane; DRC-1339 is a restricted use pesticide; Avitrol will not kill if ingested in a non-lethal dose; short-term solution; may kill a wrong bird||6|
|Animated owl models||Frightening||makes crows believe that their roosting site is not safe; recommended for keeping crows out of gardens and small-sized fields; safe for birds and do not pose a risk to humans||not effective during cold winter when crows are unwilling to leave the lived-in place; crows get habituated to the models which are demonstrated too often; short-term solution||9|
|Alarm and distress calls of crows||Frightening||send false danger warnings to the birds; highly advised by wildlife experts; recommended both for urban and rural areas; mobile broadcast units can be used||the devices producing the sounds electronically are not as effective as broadcasting of amplified recorded calls||10|
|Pyrotechnics||Frightening||the most popular solution because it is easily available; the most preferable type are exploding pyrotechnics||pose a risk to humans when handled improperly; should be used daily over the course of a month; time-consuming; short-term solution||10|
|Trapping||Physical elimination||recommended for protecting valuable crops in the garden; effective for small population of crows; traps that capture birds without harming them are available; does not pose a risk to humans||do not work when the bird population is large; the fact that crows usually move over long distances decreases the effectiveness; eliminate only individual crows while the flock as a whole remain in place; traps require regular maintenance; short-term solution||8|
|methyl anthranilate, polybutenes, and avipel seed treatment||repellent||makes crows feel uncomfortable and discourages from staying in the roosting site||no repellents are registered for crows; is not suggested by scientists as an effective method; short-term solution; needs to be re-applied; effective only in the combination with other methods||7|
Below you will find a review of the most popular products on Amazon.com used to keep crows away from the property. These are a bird gel creating a sticky surface will discourage crows from stepping on the treated area; foil tape with the irritating sight and sound; concentrate affecting the bird nerve system. We have offered the choice between plastic and steel bird spikes and looked at a solar-powered scarecrow. A frightening balloon with 3D eyes can also be of interest to you. To protect the garden, heavy duty bird netting and popular motion activated sprinkler will surely be useful for you.
Bird B Gone MMTBG Transparent Bird Gel, 10-Ounce
This product contains polybutane as an active ingredient which is has a wide range of industrial applications including being a plasticizer and is used in production of sealants, coatings and the like. The bird gel is transparent and does not spoil the appearance of the place of application. This is a sticky contact repellent making the crows feel uncomfortable when walking upon the treated area.
One tube will be enough to cover an area of about ten feet long, with the effect lasting for half a year. The manufacturer claims that the product works both for small and large birds. Another advantage of the gel is that it is non-toxic and can withstand extreme temperatures. How does it work? The gel sticks to the feet of crows and they cannot get it off easily, something that discourages birds from stepping on the treated area.
The bird gel has scored 4.0 out of 5 stars on Amazon.com, with nearly 400 customers reviews. Users agree that the product works and really repels crows but do not like dirt and all sorts of insects being stuck in the gel permanently so that they cannot be removed. “Five stars for how it works keeping the the birds at bay. 3 stars for ease of cleanup,” one of the customers wrote. He noted that one crow has even left some tail feathers behind when trying to get out of it. Judging by other responses, the compound is incredibly sticky! According to another customer: “Caught a couple of crows stuck but they were able to get out after a while”.
Price: ~$8.67 Check the current price
Bird-X Irri-Tape Holographic Iridescent Foil Bird Scare Tape
This holographic foil tape sized 2 inches in width and 25 feet in length is designed to repel birds by irritating them through sight and noise. It is reflected off by the sunlight and at the same time produces disturbing metallic sounds when it is windy. According to the manufacturer, the product works against a number of birds, including crows. An advantage is that the tape can be fixed in different way, whether by being tied to a pole, wrapped around plants or hung in the places most visited by crows.
Bird-X has a long service life, does not require maintenance and can be easily cut to desired size. It is recommended for using in gardens, patios and other outdoor places exposed to the sunlight and wind. The tape rates 3.8 out of 5 stars on Amazon.com, with over 500 customer reviews. Some customers say that the product works great to keep crows away from the property, ponds in particular, while others have not observed a tangible effect when it comes to protecting pecan trees from crows. Obviously, in the latter case crows were more motivated to overcome this kind of a psychological barrier. Another user indicates the necessity to implement a comprehensive approach: “We have blueberry bushes and this year lots of crows have moved into our area. This tape along with the bulls eyes seem to have kept them out”.
Price: ~$7 Check the current price
Bird-X Bird Stop Liquid Bird Deterrent, 1-Gallon
This repellent is a concentrate creating an invisible barrier meant to deter birds from the treated area. The manufacturer claims that the product keeps away crows and some other birds. It works by irritating the bird nerve system through the effect of methyl anthranilate, an active ingredient derived from grapes. The compound is bitter by taste and offensive by smell what makes the birds feel disturbed. The product is labelled for application to surfaces located outdoors. Feel free to use this repellent in the garden as it is food-grade and is safe when applied on corns, trees, fruits etc.
There are no enough reviews on Amazon.com to judge about customers’ experiences and the product is not rated high, with 2.8 out of 5 stars. Some customers haven’t found the liquid useful in deterring birds, others are not satisfied with the volume of the product: “The only problem I have now is that I had to buy a gallon. I have needed such a small amount I have enough bird repellent to treat a whole city,” one of them wrote.
Price: ~$91.48 Check the current price
Bird Steel & Plastic Spikes
Creating physical barriers is one of the widely used methods to keep birds away. Different types of spikes, plastic and metal ones, are commercially available. When comparing plastic polycarbonate spikes and stainless spikes, both produced under the brand of Bird-X, we see that they have something in common. So, both of them cover the area of 10 feet in length, are designed to prevent birds from landing on surfaces, durable and labeled for repelling crows among other pest birds.
The key difference is material they are made from and the structure. The plastic spikes have branches for deterring small birds while the steel ones do not have them and target large birds. Also, the stainless product comes with a ten-year warranty, whereas the warranty for the plastic one is limited to five years. The spikes made from plastic should be fixed to the surface with glue or nails, and spike adhesive is included in the package.
Both of the products have a high rating on Amazon.com but the steel one is more popular with 4.4 out of 5 stars in reviews, whereas the plastic spikes have scored 4.0 out of 5 stars. It is noteworthy that plastic spikes are described by the customers as practical ones: “I own the penthouse unit and one of my balconies has a wooden overhang that seems to attract crows and pigeons. I bought these to get rid of the problem. I've had these up for nearly two years now and they have withstood the rain, heat, and cold,” one user wrote. Another customer commented on stainless spikes in the following way: “I have a huge problem with crows, they used to rest on pipes on top of the seating benches and crap all over until I placed spikes on the pipes with tides. This morning I check and I have no more power wash to do”.
Bird-X Plastic Polycarbonate Bird Spikes Kit with Adhesive Glue. Price: ~$17.49 Check the current price
Bird-X Stainless Steel Bird Spikes Kit, Covers 10 feet. Price: ~$16.99 Check the current price
Gardeneer By Dalen Natural Enemy Scarecrow SOL-R Action Owl
One of the successful solutions to crow damage in the garden is to put there a scarecrow looking like an owl. However, this model of an owl is not a traditional one as it is solar-powered what enables its almost permanent moving. The secondary power is generated by the wind. Therefore, the product is absolutely environmentally friendly and does not require extra spending. Forget about batteries! It is the head that moves and the solar battery is installed on its top. You can also set timing depending on how often crows visit your property.
The product has plenty of customers reviews on Amazon.com, over 1,700 ones, and has scored 3.6 out of 5 stars. The bulk of the votes were divided between four and five stars. “We had kamikaze crows hitting our many windows that face the east starting at 6:00 am every morning. We tried timed lights, netting, standing there screaming at them, nothing worked. We bought this owl... Next morning no crows,” one of the customers said. Another user has come up with an idea to change the scarecrow location from time to time in order not to let the birds get habituated to the device.
Price: from $27.47 Check the current price
Bird-X Terror-Eyes Inflatable Bird Scare with 3D eyes
It seems that crows will not be able to ignore this bird scare ball with huge 3D eyes which seem to be moving. According to the producer, the product is labelled for a number of birds including crows. The ball has the size of 24 inches and covers an area of a thousand feet. In addition, when the wind blows, the ball moves making the sense of the predator presence more realistic. The manufacturer suggests that the ball which mimics the natural predator should be used in combination with other scare methods so that the affected birds will start perceiving their roosting site as being unprotected. To fix the ball, just tie it to any pole. The strings are included. What seems to be an evident drawback is the product’s price.
The Terror Eyes rate 3.1 out of 5 stars on Amazon.com. The customers attach the ball in different ways: hanging it from the tree, letting it float in the pool with a previously tied weight, and hanging next to the window. The opinions on whether the ball works vary but some claim that this 3D-eyed inflatable really deters birds.
Price: ~$36.89 Check the current price
HEAVY DUTY Bird Netting
A guaranteed way to protect your garden is to place this durable extra strong net upon. The manufacturer claims that the netting will effectively keep away crows and other birds from the crops. Its size is 7.55 by 65 feet which is large enough to cover a considerable area of the vegetable or fruit beds.
This is a perfect protection for blueberry, as well as for tomatoes and fruit trees. Its evident advantage is that the netting does not stick to leaves of the plants and is easy to re-use. Also, while being a lightweight material, this polypropylene netting is strong, durable and hard to be torn.
The product is a bestseller on Amazon.com and rates 4.7 out of 5 stars in consumer reviews. “Works great. The crows have to find a new source for food,” one of the customers wrote. Another user has observed that the crows have stopped visiting her strawberry garden after this heavy-duty net was placed.
Price: ~$18.60 Check the current price
Orbit 62100 Yard Enforcer Motion Activated Sprinkler
Another best seller on Amazon.com is Orbit motion-activated sprinkler which is popular in deterring a wide range of pests, from insects, animals to birds. It works by sprinkling the water towards any moving living being it has detected with the sensor. The device has two modes of detection depending on the time of day. This hi-tech sprinkler allows to avoid wasting of water and energy. Apart from deterring pests, the device can be exploited just as a sprinkler to irrigate your garden or lawn.
The product has scored 3.9 out of 5 stars on Amazon.com, with almost 1,200 customers reviews. One of the users has shared his experience of deterring crows: “Get a green laser pointer. Make sure it's powered by an 18650 battery. This will work in all but mid-day sunlight. If pigeons or crows see the laser's dot they get moving. Especially the crows”.
Price: ~$78.52 Check the current price
9 Products To Keep Crows Away: Comparative Chart
Bird B Gone MMTBG Transparent Bird
|gel, 10 ounce|
Bird-X Bird Stop Liquid Bird Deterrent
|concentrate, one gallon|
Bird-X Plastic Bird Spikes Kit
|plastic polycarbonate, physical barrier|
Bird-X Steel Bird Spikes Kit
|stainless steel, physical barrier|
Gardeneer By Dalen Natural Enemy
|solar-powered owl scarecrow|
|repelling balloon with 3D eyes|
Heavy Duty Bird Netting
Orbit 62100 Yard Enforcer
|Motion Activated Sprinkler|