Crows sift through human garbage looking for food and nesting materials, and they can create quite a mess.
For this reason alone, many consider crows to be a nuisance, but there are numerous strategies you can employ to keep them at a distance.
To stop crows from getting into your garbage, enclose your trash in a bin with a lid that closes tightly. For additional security, you can place a heavy object on top of the lid, close off the area with bird netting, or string aluminum pans onto the trash can handles.
Have a crow issue? This article will discuss the reasons why crows dig through your garbage and ways you can stop them. Read on to learn more about preventing crows from becoming a nuisance in your home and garden.
Why Crows Get Into Your Garbage
Crows love to dig through human garbage, and they can create quite a mess. The reason why they do this is that they’ll often find their next meal or nesting materials in your dumpsters and trash bags.
Keeping crows out of your garbage is a simple task of securing your trash cans with a tight-fitting lid, but it helps to understand why they want to get into the garbage.
What Do Crows Eat?
Crows are omnivores that’ll eat almost anything, including insects, produce, snakes, worms, eggs, and nesting birds. They eat a lot; one family of crows can eat up to 40,000 caterpillars, worms, and other insects in one nesting season.
Although crows are valued for their role in controlling pests and transporting seeds, they’re also considered pests themselves because they tear into garbage looking for food and eat garden produce.
Therefore, controlling crows is necessary if you want to keep your garbage untouched and your garden intact.
How Do Crows Build Their Nests?
Crows build their nests in isolated coniferous trees, usually at least 60 feet (18.29 meters) up from the ground.
They make their nests out of twigs, branches, plant fibers, twine, mosses, and any other stringy or twig-like materials they can find from your garden or garbage.
What To Do To Keep Crows Out of the Trash
Crows are intelligent birds, but they’re easy to control at the same time. Trash bags left alone or overflowing trash cans will attract crows.
So simply using a secure trash container with a tight-fitting lid is enough to keep them away.
If you secure your garbage and yet you find crows eating from scattered trash, there’s a good chance that they had the help of a raccoon or dog in getting to the garbage.
A sturdier animal-proof trash bin like the Keter Rockford Resin Trash Can (available on Amazon.com) may be necessary for these scavengers.
For more security, you can use twist ties to secure your garbage bags before even putting them in the garbage bin, and you can place a heavy object like a brick on top of the closed trash can lid.
Bird netting is also a useful tool for keeping crows away from trash bags, especially when trash cans aren’t an option.
Finally, you can string aluminum pie tins together onto the handle of your trash can. This will add extra security by scaring away any crows or other animals who do successfully open the trash can lid.
How To Keep Crows From Destroying Your Garden
Crows offer some benefits and some drawbacks to gardeners. They take care of pests that might otherwise damage crops.
But on the other hand, they can also destroy produce. Although many gardeners appreciate the benefits of having crows in their gardens, others prefer to keep the birds away from their crops.
The easiest way to keep crows away from an area is by hiding food sources, but this is hard to do when you’re growing produce or using compost to grow other plants.
Thankfully, you can cover and protect seedlings and produce that hasn’t yet ripened in many ways without banning crows from your garden altogether.
Fabric row covers can protect rows of seedlings from being pecked by birds, and you can use bird netting to keep birds away from specific plants.
Paper cups and bags also make for useful tools in keeping crows away from ears of corn.
You can use Mylar streamers and other reflective decorations like old CDs and aluminum tins to deter crows as well.
Do Scarecrows Work?
In most cases, a scarecrow won’t work in keeping crows away from crops. The only scarecrows that do work are ones that move, and even those won’t keep them fooled for long.
A better strategy is to put the effigy of a dead crow in your garden. Placing a Halloween decor crow upside-down in your garden with the wings spread will usually scare away crows.
Will Ultrasonic Sounds Scare Crows Away?
Birds can’t hear ultrasonic sounds, so ultrasonic sound devices marketed as bird deterrents won’t work.
However, you can use the recorded sound of a crow in distress as a deterrent. Crows will fly away if they believe that another crow is making the noise.
Are Crows a Threat to Public Health?
With so much time spent in the garbage, crows aren’t considered hygienic birds.
But they’re not a threat to human health overall; rather, the diseases associated with crows are either of little threat to humans or aren’t spread between species.
Histoplasmosis is a disease caused by the spread of a fungus from crow droppings to human respiratory systems. Although the disease can spread to other parts of the body, it usually has minimal impact.
It’s not considered a justifiable reason for poisoning or otherwise getting rid of crows.
West Nile Virus
Crows are commonly associated with the West Nile Virus because they’re particularly sensitive to the illness. A group of dead crows is evidence that the virus has taken hold in a new area.
However, crows have not been known to spread this virus; the West Nile Virus is only spread to humans through mosquito bites.
Why You Shouldn’t Use Poison Against Crows
Poisoning crows is both inhumane and ineffective. The most common poison used against crows targets the kidney and the heart, and it causes a slow and painful death over several days.
Crows also hide their food, and so their poisoned food supply can reach additional unintended targets.
Additionally, poisoning crows is ineffective because those who survive don’t leave the area. Instead, they produce young that multiply and continue living there.
Without competition, more of these young birds will survive than otherwise would, and the overall population numbers will change little, if at all.
One humane alternative to poison is targeted harassment, which is a technique where people will set off fireworks and use other non-legal methods to scare crows away when they’re roosting in large numbers near cars and buildings.
Lancaster County, PA successfully used this strategy to get rid of their crow problems, using a hotline where citizens could report crow roosting spots and a crow response team that would go out to set off fireworks, yell, and disrupt the birds.
Cities like Terre Haute, IN and Rochester, MN have since followed in Lancaster’s footsteps creating their own crow coalitions.
Crows tear through human garbage looking for food scraps, insects, and nesting materials, and they can be quite persistent pecking into garbage bags.
The best way to keep crows out of the garbage is to enclose your trash in a bin with a tightly closed lid. Reflective items like aluminum pans and loud noises can also act as crow deterrents.