How To Get Rid Of Crows: Best Ways to Scare and Kill Them

Author: Michael Potter Reviewed by Updated: May 13, 2022

Perhaps no bird is as smart and cautious the crow. Crows 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 as just one of many authors who has poetized these mysterious birds. But in our everyday life, we get to know them in a different way — as pests. In rural areas crows inflict damage to crops, in particular, by pulling up sprouts or attacking small animals such as lambs. Also, crows spread a bacteria that can kill baby pigs and should be taken into account by those engaged in swine breeding. Most concerns are associated with crows being a nuisance pest and causing problems related to roosting sites and feeding habits in urban areas that can cause human health issues as well.  To help you eliminate these problems, we will elaborate on how to get rid of crows and some surprising recommendations given by scientists.

Which is the best way to kill crows? How to poison a crow IF it is legal? If you don’t want to harm the birds, learn how to scare away crows using a variety of 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 products with best ratings.

What You Should Know about Crows

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 property items that involve spending extra time and money on cleaning services. 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, other birds and carrion (that’s the polite way to say a dead carcass). 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.

How To Get Rid Of Crows: What Scientists Say

Researchers from Pennsylvania State University describe how to get rid of crows. Crow control measures can take 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 for maximum effect. In winter, there will be more birds so it is best to take action sooner than later. 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, distress calls, as well as applying repellents and setting traps. So, let’s have a look at each method in greater detail.

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 thin large trees located close to the site so that the site becomes vulnerable to harsh 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 (“thinning” is a term used to describe the act of cutting down select trees as opposed to removing branches). 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. Farmers have been known to spread whole corn and other kinds of grain, first soaked in water, along the field as a distraction from the crops.

Ron Johnson from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln has told us how to get rid of crows by creating physical barriers and describes increased effectiveness specifically concerning smaller or confined areas. 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. Crows are highly intelligent but the idea is sound and the grid is easy to construct for most avid gardeners — birds normally do not see fine wires and when surprised buy the obstacle are repelled from the site. Start by stretching fine wires across the garden at a height of eight feet above the ground. For maximum effect, tie aluminum pans to the wires.

Killing crows may be effective as these smart birds tend to get accustomed to nonlethal methods. Always check and abide by your local laws. With targeted shooting, in non-urban areas, you will eliminate individual birds and 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. As scientists from the Kansas State University discribes, 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. 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.  So, what other methods are suggested by the researchers? First of all, try a variety of tactics including frightening.

How To Scare Away Crows

A number of methods are suggested by scientists to harass crows including using pyrotechnics, distress calls, chemicals, lasers and electronic devices. These devices will be efficient in dispersing birds but only if applied properly. Specifically, implement these measures seasonally and combine different solutions for maximum effectiveness. 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 danger warnings to the birds. Moreover, the more mobile the broadcast unit is, the better due to the learning capabilities of crows. In case you use a stationary distress call, turn it up to maximum volume. Electronic sound options, such as Av-Alarm, are also available but are considered to have poorer performance than distress calls. 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 for one month to observe its effectiveness. Hanging effigies of dead crows in the places of roosting trees near the pyrotechnic detonations will improve the results because the combination of the noise and the view of the dead crow effigy creates a much greater impact on the birds, as describes in the conducted research.

Apart from that, you may use gas exploders (canon like devices powered by propane with no porojectile), 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 ingested by birds, the substance makes them feel unwell and, as a result, the bird will signal this feeling to the others in the flock.

Crow Repellents

There are no permanent 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 be truly effective, 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. A seed treatment is an excellent addition to the multi-prong approach in battling these crafty corvids.

Trapping Crows

Crow trapping is particularly useful for the protection of valuable crops in the garden or in the areas with a 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 an active roosting site. And thirdly, traps require regular maintenance.

If your garden is far from an active roosting site but gets regular visits then 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 trap, suggested for use in winter, is quite large as about eight to ten square feet and five to six feet high. This trap is recommended for setting at the site where crows congregate and should be baited with meat, corn or fruits. Water should also be available inside the trap and don’t forget to regularly re-bait with fresh food. Out of all captured crows, some should be left alive and well inside the trap as decoys. The device will capture several birds daily but, as it was mentioned above, the number could be insignificant as compared to the total population in the area.

Comparison Table of Ways To Get Rid Of Crows

Method Type Advantage Disadvantage
Removing or making trees near the roost thinner habitat modification

Effectiveness: 9

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; time-consuming; is not scientifically proved to be effective for crows
Providing an alternative source of food habitat modification

Effectiveness: 10

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; time-consuming; involves extra spending
Placing nylon or plastic netting



Effectiveness: 9

recommended for protecting the garden; does not harm birds, nor does it pose a risk to humans keeps some beneficial insects away from the plants; may not withstand the pressure; short-term solution
Placing fine wire Exclusion

Effectiveness: 10

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
Killing crows by a targeted shooting Physical elimination

Effectiveness: 7

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
Poisoning (DRC-1339,  Avitrol) Physical elimination

Effectiveness: 6

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
Animated owl models



Effectiveness: 9

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
Alarm and distress calls of crows Frightening

Effectiveness: 10

sends 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
Pyrotechnics Frightening

Effectiveness: 10

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
Trapping Physical elimination

Effectiveness: 8

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 does 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
methyl anthranilate, polybutenes, and avipel seed treatment



Effectiveness: 7

makes crows feel uncomfortable and discourages from staying in the roosting site no repellents are officially 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

9 Best Crow Repellents & Deterrents

Let’s be honest. Crows are a pain. The noise, the poop, the torn up garden… It’s enough to drive a person crazy. The bad news: crows are very crafty. The good news: there are things we can do to win the battle. Below you will find a review of the most popular products used to keep crows away from the property. You will read about our top picks ranging from bird gels that create a sticky surface will discourage crows from stepping on the treated area; foil tapes with irritating sight and sound; Chemical Concentrates affecting the bird’s nervous system. We also offer the choice between plastic and steel bird spikes and take a look at a solar-powered scarecrows. 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 sprinklers will surely be useful for you on your quest to save the garden.

1. Gardeneer By Dalen Natural Enemy Scarecrow SOL-R Action Owl

One of the most successful prevention solutions to crow damage in the garden is to put a scarecrow “owl”. Unlike the old stationary scarecrows, this model of an owl is solar-powered which enables its almost consistent movement. Some secondary movements are from wind. Therefore, the product is absolutely environmentally friendly and affordable to keep running. Forget about batteries! The moving head has a solar battery  installed on top. You can also set a timer depending on how often crows visit your property.

The product has plenty of satisfied purchasers – most seeing success literally over night! If you haven’t already, scroll back up in this article to see that the research supports this type of deterrent.  The StopPestInfo Scientific Review Team only has the suggestion to install the Owl in a manner that it can be moved throughout the seasons in order to prevent the birds from being habituated to the device.

Last update on 2023-07-31 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Read what other customers have to say here

2. Bird Steel & Plastic Spikes

Creating physical barriers is a commonly used method to keep birds away. Different types of spikes, plastic and metal, are commercially available. When comparing plastic polycarbonate spikes and stainless spikes, both by the trusted brand Bird-X, we see that they have a few attributes in common. Both of them cover the area of 10 feet in length and are designed to prevent birds from landing on surfaces. They are 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 extra branches for deterring small birds while the steel ones seem to target larger birds. Also, the stainless product comes with a ten-year warranty, whereas the plastic one is limited to five years. Plastic spikes are fixed to surfaces with nails or included adhesive.

Bird-X Plastic Polycarbonate Bird Spikes Kit with Adhesive Glue. Price:  Check the current price

Both of the products are highly rated by experts and purchasers. The steel one is more popular worldwide and can be seen on most tall public buildings and at all international airports – being described as effective and durable. It is noteworthy that plastic spikes are described as most practical for homeowners. One suggestion from the more sensible of the StopPestInfo team is that the metal ones are easily spray painted using commonly available paint specifically for metals. This extra step will make them blend into the exterior decor of your home preserving its beauty and charm.

Last update on 2023-07-31 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Bird-X Stainless Steel Bird Spikes Kit, Covers 10 feet. Price:  Check the current price

3. Orbit 62100 Yard Enforcer Motion Activated Sprinkler

Another internet-wide best seller is the Orbit Motion-Activated Sprinkler made popular for its ability to deter a wide range of pests from insects to animals and birds. It works by sprinkling the water towards any moving thing it has detected with the specialized sensor. The device has two modes of detection depending on the time of day. This hi-tech sprinkler avoids wasting water and energy. Apart from deterring pests, the device can be used just as a sprinkler to irrigate your garden or lawn.

There is no doubt that this is a popular product. The team here at StopPestInfo appreciates the versatility of this particular sprinkler. It is a great tool to have no matter who the pest-of-the-month happens to be! We even recommend people use it for deer, foxes, crows, and even to scare the neighborhood kids out of your precious raspberries! Our StopPestInfo Editorial Staff would like to point out that this sprinkler allows the gardener to use the scientific principles recommended above of unpredictable locations and surprise when deterring birds.

Last update on 2023-07-31 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Price:  Check the current price

4. HEAVY DUTY Bird Netting

A guaranteed way to protect your garden is to place this durable, extra-strong net over the top and sides. 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 and strawberry, as well as for tomatoes and fruit trees. The evident advantage is that the netting does not stick to the leaves of the plants and is easy to re-use season after season. Also, while being a lightweight material, this polypropylene netting is strong, durable in direct sunlight and hard to tear.

This popular and durable product continues to be a bestseller with good reason. The Team here at SPI likes this product for two reasons. First, because science supports the barrier method against crows (and you know how much we love science!). And secondly, because it can be deployed by the gardener at the correct time. For example, keeping a net over a fruit tree during spring during pollination would be counter productive. Plus, other birds, especially in the spring, eat caterpillars out of the fruit trees. So place this net during fruiting for best bird repelling results.

Last update on 2023-07-31 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Price:  Check the current price

5. 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 and makes the birds feel disturbed. The product is labelled for application to surfaces located outdoors only. Feel free to use this repellent in the garden as it is food-grade and is safe when applied on corn, trees, fruits etc.

Consumer experiences vary on this product despite the scientific evidence. It is an impressive and unique product. The SPI Editorial Staff would like to point out that the cost could be split among multiple gardeners in your area and the results discussed as a group to determine the effectiveness and keep costs down during experimentation. The true power of this product will be seen when used as an additional layer of deterrent against these very adaptable bird.

Last update on 2023-07-31 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Price:  Check the current price

6. Bird-X Terror-Eyes Inflatable Bird Scare with 3D eyes

Crows are not able to ignore this bird scare ball with huge 3D eyes which seem to be moving. According to the manufacturer, this product is labelled for a number of birds including crows. The ball has the size of 24 inches and has an effective range of one thousand square feet. In addition, when the wind blows, the ball moves making 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 use the ball, just tie it to any pole. The strings are included in most product varieties.

Gardeners generally suggest that the ball works “OK” in conjunction with other deterrents. The good news is that this solution is affordable. If it doesn’t scare the birds, the kids will have a good time tossing it around the backyard! The StopPestInfo Scientific review team wants to remind gardeners everywhere that a little experimentation will be required to find what works best in your area for your situation. This is a low tech, low maintenance solution that could be an important piece to the puzzle.

Price:  Check the current price

7. 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 detract from the appearance of your home or garden area 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 again.

The SPI Editorial staff likes the functionality of this product for specific scenarios and locations. For example: What if crows are trying to roost on your bedroom window sill and your choices are either long metal spikes obscuring your view from bed or a subtle layer of clear non-toxic goo needing occasional wipe-up and replace?

Crows are very intelligent and will remember the uncomfortable time they experienced while temporarily stuck in goo. Many consumers enjoy the innovative alternative to spikes. Apartment dwellers who are not able to install spikes will most likely be able to use the gel as it does wipe up.

Price:  Check the current price

8. 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 reflects 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 use in gardens, patios and other outdoor places exposed to the sunlight and wind. When an amazing food source is nearby (fruit tree) or this tape is the only deterrent (not recommended to be used solo) crows are more motivated to overcome this kind of a psychological barrier. The SPI Scientific Review Staff indicates the necessity to implement a comprehensive approach especially near a food source.

Price:  Check the current price

Products To Keep Crows Away: Comparative Chart

Product Type
Gardeneer By Dalen Natural Enemy
solar-powered owl scarecrow
Bird-X Plastic Bird Spikes Kit

plastic polycarbonate, physical barrier
Bird-X Steel Bird Spikes Kit
stainless steel, physical barrier
Orbit 62100 Yard Enforcer
Motion Activated Sprinkler
Heavy Duty Bird Netting
polypropylene netting
Bird-X Bird Stop Liquid Bird Deterrent
concentrate, one gallon
Bird B Gone MMTBG Transparent Bird
gel, 10 ounce
Bird-X Irri-Tape
foil tape

View Comments

  • There's another case that doesn't seem addressed here at all. I have a flock of crows that is harassing a hawk's nest in a big tree about a hundred yards away. The flock makes a lot of noise for hours at a time, and sometimes thirty or forty birds gather and I'm mildly concerned too many perching on the power lines may bring one down. And sometimes they'll walk my roof perching and pecking at everything. But 95% of the time they are on adjacent properties or public objects. And I feel sorry for the hawk!

Author: Michael Potter Reviewed by Updated: May 13, 2022
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Michael Potter, Ph. D. In biology, is a consultant and author for He is a scientist obsessed with the idea to save the world from pests.

He does not belive hollow words and empty promises from the producers ads. It is only facts that matter to him. Mr. Potter questions any statement and analzes in detail all related information.


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