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Get Rid of Crows

Summary: The American crow is protected by some type of law in most states. Still, there are legal ways to get rid of crows.

Most states will allow a certain amount of crow hunting during non-nesting season and shooting crows will certainly reduce their population. However, discharging guns in public places could get you tossed in jail, so let's explore some more reasonable alternatives.

There are some nifty new bird deterrent devices. One, the Eagle Eye Bird Deterrent, puts off a laser-type light that freaks the birds out. It runs about $800 for the kit and it's available online.

Another repellent device is the BirdXPeller. It broadcasts distress calls that birds are supposed to understand. According to the manufacturer, upon hearing these recordings the targeted pest birds avoid the affected area out of instinctual fear. My guess is that after a few days of this your neighbors will target you to move out of the area, as well.

Several companies put out products that blow non-toxic grape flavored mist into the air. The fog scent irritates the bird's mucous membranes through entry in the eyes, nose or mouth. Birds do not like the sensation and take flight from the treated area. I've seen this stuff work!

So, here we are driving down a county two-lane highway. Topping the hill, we come upon a large bird sitting in the middle of the road picking away at some type of road kill. It's a crow, and as we bear down on it, it nonchalontely, but begrungingly hops out of the way of our oncoming bumper. Lucky for us because hitting a bird that stands about twenty-one inches with a wingspan reaching three feet, would put more than a little dent in the hood of our Chevy.

I don't want to give the impression that road kill is the only food that American crows like to eat. In fact, their diet consists of almost anything edible including insects, nuts, fruit, earthworms, snakes and eggs. They will even prey on small animals or rodents if given the chance. The fact that they will go after the eggs and fledglings of other birds puts them on the black list of many bird lovers and sportsmen. Farmers have reported having their chicken stocks raided by a murder of crows.

Once the American crow finds food it has an interesting way to store it. Instead of hiding its food in one place it will disperse it around in different hiding spots called caches. Each cache is usually covered with sticks or leaves so as to conceal the goodies kept inside. American crows may store their food in caches in places around your home or yard. For example, they may turn your birdbath, gutters or sandbox into a cache for their food.

Having your home serve as a food cache for crows can be very problematic. Their shear size means loads of droppings that mar painted surfaces, clog gutters and cause odors you don't want to think about. Of course, if you happen to be a Hindu holy person, you feel that worldly happiness is the droppings of crows. When crows gather in flocks sometimes reaching thousands of birds, the happiness must be overwhelming.

Large flocks of crows create a noice which can be heard from long distances. Closing your windows will bring you no peace and, according to some, those crow-calls can affect your children's IQ. Some people claim that disturbing the sleep of school-aged children can cause an average loss of four IQ points. I'm not sure if they mean per night or total, but who wants to lose any points at all in our competitive world? And, all because of some birds.

Still and all, crows are some of the smartest birds on the planet. They have an evolved language and are able to mimic sounds made by other animals. They learn to associate specific sounds with specific events, especially those sounds associated with food. I suppose when they hear the hog calling contestants at the local county fair they know that the pie eating contest cannot be far behind.

Crows, by the way, are not ravens. Rather, ravens are crows, or at least, of the crow family. Ravens are much larger and they tend to do a lot more soaring and somersaulting. And, did you know that a flock of crows is sometimes referred to as a "murder" of crows? This is based on the persistent, but false folk tale that crows form tribunals to judge and punish the bad behavior of a member of the flock. If the verdict goes against the defendant crow, that crow murdered by the flock. The tale probably originated from the fact that  crows will sometimes kill a dying crow or feed on carcasses of dead crows.

So, inspite of lots of negative tales, the crow still can be considered a boon to our environment. Just remember, a family of crows can consume about forty thousnd grubs, caterpillars, army worms and other pests during a single nesting period. And, like it or not, they help to keep our streets free of road kill. Better them than me.

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