14 Things Crows Like To Eat Most (Diet, Care & Feeding Tips) (2022)

When you hear the “caw” of a crow, what comes to mind? In some cultures, these black-feathered birds are viewed as a bad omen. Research shows that crows are intelligent and social creatures. They thrive in almost any environment, including suburban neighborhoods.

But to survive, what do crows eat?

Table of Contents

  • Crow Habits And Biology
  • What Do Crows Eat Most?
  • Foods to Avoid When Feeding Crows
  • Tips on Feeding Crows
  • Summary

Crow Habits And Biology

Crows, despite being loud and boisterous, for bird brains, are considered one of the most intelligent animals in the world.

They are famed for their adaptability and are even known, like human beings, to use common sense.

The New Caledonian crow uses sticks in the wild to lure ants out of their nests.

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They belong to the genus Corvus along with ravens and rooks and the family Corvidae, which compromises other birds such as magpies, nutcrackers, and jays.

There exist about 40 different species of crows that vary in size, ranging from 24-27 inches (53-69 cm) long. The fish crow measures about 19 inches (48 cm) long, while the American crow measures about 17.5 inches (44 cm) long.

Crow’s weight ranges from 12 to 57 ounces (337 -1,625 grams). Some of the most common crow species include:

  • The Common Raven
  • Carrion crow
  • Large-billed Crow
  • Rook
  • New Caledonian crow

14 Things Crows Like To Eat Most (Diet, Care & Feeding Tips) (1)

A lot of crows are reclusive, although they often scout for food in groups. An adult needs 11 ounces of food daily for sustenance.

During nesting season, they gather in large numbers to roost and protect themselves from predators. They can eat up to 40,000 grubs a day, including; armyworms, caterpillars, and other insects considered pests.

Others live in groups called “murder.” When one of them dies, the murder gathers around to mourn the deceased. Some detective work is done.

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Once the crime is solved, they act together to chase the predator away in a behavior known as mobbing.

If you thought it couldn’t get any better, think again. Crows have their own language of communication, using over 250 different calls to communicate additional messages. Distress call brings other crows to the aid.

Crows only take up one mating partner for life. They exhibit a variety of breeding and incubation depending on the species. Incubation typically lasts for about 18 days, and the chicks mature at four weeks old.

Crows may live up to 13 years in the wild and up to 20 years in captivity.

What Do Crows Eat Most?

As human beings, crows are omnivores. They consume both plant and animal-kind. Moreover, like humans, they also mind their diets and are particular with what they eat.

The following are delicacies found in the crow “menu”.

  1. Crows love dried pet food, commonly dog or cat food, usually, the small pellet kind that is easier to eat and digest.
  2. Crows go nuts for nuts—all kinds of nuts; hazelnuts, walnuts, and others.
  3. Another favorite is hard-boiled eggs. They consider this a real treat and will even devour the egg along with its shell.
  4. Their love for corn is what has farmers calling them pests.
  5. Grain is also a delicacy, especially during summer or fall, as it is in plenty and readily available.
  6. Fruits and berries are also commonly eaten chiefly due to their availability all year round—from grapes to oranges, apples, and blueberries.
  7. Small reptiles like lizards and geckoes are among crow favorites to cram down. However, they face competition from other predators.
  8. Amphibians like frogs and salamanders are also found on this long menu as an avian favorite.
  9. Rodents, including squirrels and mice, are also a fan-favorite among the murder.
  10. Crows are not biased in feeding and are known to eat almost anything, including carrions (decaying flesh of dead animals).
  11. Other smaller birds also fall prey to crows as they eat close to anything they get their claws on.
  12. To avoid the hassle of competing with other predators, crows also feed on various insects such as army ants, mealworms, and other grubs such as caterpillars.
  13. Species that live in urban and suburban areas like the American crow have it a bit easier as they have access to dumpsters. They rummage through these dumpsters to find disposed foods that suit their fancy and make a meal of it.
  14. Like the French, snails, among other non-arthropod mollusks, also lie on the menu of these birds of a feather as a delicacy they enjoy.

Evident from the above menu, it’s clear that crows have a wide range of meals to choose from daily. For some of these selections, they have to work hard to attain, and for others, they have to be patient, and the food shall avail itself to them.

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Crows have peculiar eating behaviors that are unique to them and a few distinct animals like raccoons. Whereby they are known to dip their food into the water before eating. They do this so the food they consume doesn’t choke them. Aside from being intelligent, they are classy as well.

Foods to Avoid When Feeding Crows

14 Things Crows Like To Eat Most (Diet, Care & Feeding Tips) (2)

Crows, like human beings, like to watch what they put in their mouths or in this case, bills.

They are choosey when it comes to eating despite being able to feed on almost anything.

Usually, they behave this way simply because that food doesn’t tickle their fancy or may cause them harm.

And it is for that reason, when feeding crows, here are some food items you should exclude from their diets.

  1. Seeds from peaches, apples, pears and cherries should not be fed to crows as they contain traces of cyanide. When feeding them fruits, it’s advisable to remove the seeds beforehand.
  2. Foods such as uncooked or dried beans should not be fed to them either. They contain toxins that are harmful to crows.
  3. Crows, like human beings, also get stomach upsets and foods such as mushrooms may also induce liver failure.
  4. For obvious reasons, alcohol is also not advisable to be given to crows.
  5. Peppers are among other foods that may cause stomach upsets to crows, with symptoms ranging from diarrhea and or vomiting.
  6. When feeding crows foods such as nuts, it is advisable to feed them saltless nuts. Why? Because it may cause dehydration to the bird and even possible kidney failure.
  7. If fed to crows, onions should be given in small amounts as a high intake may result in anemia.
  8. These birds also experience similar ailments to human beings. Food items rich in sugar such as chocolates may cause vomiting, diarrhea and even seizures, leading to death among this avian family.

The above-listed food items are harmful to the Corvidae family and should not be fed to them at all costs.

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In some countries, feeding crows is considered illegal. Hence before partaking in the activity either as a pass time or a hobby, you should first confirm with your local authority.

Tips on Feeding Crows

Feeding crows can be as tricky as feeding a human baby because they tend to be very difficult. As mentioned in other sections of this article, especially when it comes to feeding.

So if you’re looking to take up crow feeding as a hobby, consider the below.

  1. Find out what they like or dislike. You must first ask yourself, “what do crows like?” Through trial and error on your part as the birds can be highly erratic in deciding what they do and don’t like.
  2. You should be able to provide an environment that is conducive for the crows to feed. Preferably, this should be a quiet place they would be comfortable visiting from time to time. Food should be readily available.
  3. Any indications of threats should be eliminated, such as vehicles and pets that may spook the corvid birds. Noisemakers should be kept at a distance.
  4. Offer them their favorite treats. Surprise them with some unsalted nuts, seeds or fruits that they very much enjoy.
  5. Establishing a routine will go to show that you are reliable. These ingenious birds know how to study patterns and are known for their memories. Predictability helps the crows to know when to expect you.
  6. Adding a birdbath for the crows to dip their food in, have a drink, and cool off after a meal.
  7. Patience is vital as the birds may take some time before they approach as they are analytical. Test them with different foods if need be until you find something that they like.

You’ll know your mission is accomplished because crows eagerly descend on the food they consider to be their favorites.

Summary

Humanity might view them bad luck or as pests or tricksters. But there is no denying the outright intelligence crows possess. Be it their memory, language, or boisterous nature.

Their tendency to adapt quickly and coexist with humankind is unmatched. Crows, you can feed them, but you can’t cage them.

FAQs

What do crows like to eat the most? ›

Seeds and fruits make up nearly three-quarters of the American Crow's diet. This includes: corn, wheat, oats, chokecherries, Poison Ivy, pistachios, grapes, Red Osier Dogwood fruits, Bittersweet Nightshade berries, pecans, and watermelons, among other things.

What can I feed crows so they like me? ›

Eggs, unsalted peanuts, cat or dog food, corn, and chicken are all tried and true favorites of many crow enthusiasts. If you don't have a dedicated feeding station or area set up, you can begin by scattering cracked corn and small pellet dog or cat food on the ground.

What do crow's eat? ›

Crows are omnivores (eats both plant and animal foods) and will sometimes come to eat one food, such as insects, but then stay around or return to eat another, such as garden produce. You won't be able to remove all potential crow food sources, but if you remove the easy meal, the crows may decide to look elsewhere.

What is crow fond of eating? ›

Being an omnivore, they will literally eat almost anything. Their dietary restrictions are fairly minimal, leading them to eat many things like seeds, grains, mice & dead animals, small fish, reptiles and even other birds. The Crow has a wide and diverse diet.

Can crows eat rice? ›

Ornithologists write that rice is perfectly safe for birds to eat. David Emery, urban legends researcher for the information website About.com, notes that wild rice is a dietary staple for many birds, as are other grains, such as wheat and barley, that expand when they absorb moisture.

How do you bond with crows? ›

To first attract crows, you will want something noticeable, like peanuts in the shell. Once they become regulars in your yard, you can use a wider variety of foods, including kibbled pet food or meat scraps. Crows can eat a lot of food, so don't be afraid to spread more if they eat it all.

What fruits do crows eat? ›

#Fruits. Almost all crow species eat various fruits, such as apples, bananas, oranges, grapes, raisins, etc. They also feed on many wild fruits, including dogwood, wild grapes, wild cherries, poison-oak, figs, and more.

What gifts do crows bring? ›

Wild crows are not known to create or display art. But they do occasionally leave behind objects like keys, lost earrings, bones, or rocks, for the people who feed them, a behavior that John Marzluff, conservation ecologist and Swift's colleague at the University of Washington, calls “gifting.”

What are crows afraid of? ›

Use balloons, CDs, reflective tape, or anything else shiny to scare crows away. For some reason, shiny, reflective objects scare crows. Some people think that it's because crows are scared of their own reflection.

Do crows remember faces? ›

Ravens and other members of the corvid family (crows, jays, and magpies) are known to be intelligent. They can remember individual human faces, expertly navigate human environments (like trash cans), and they even hold funerals for their dead. Some ravens, it seems, even know the art of making a deal.

Is bread Bad for crows? ›

Although bread isn't harmful to birds, try not to offer it in large quantities, since its nutritional value is relatively low. A bird that is on a diet of predominantly, or only bread, can suffer from serious vitamin deficiencies, or starve.

What do crows hate? ›

Crows dislike anything shiny [source: Cornell]. Many people repel crows by hanging several CDs on a string across the yard. Hang up shiny aluminum plates. This will work the same way as the CDs, and if they are hung up close enough together to make a noise, that's even better.

Do crows remember kindness? ›

Do not fear, crows do not just hold grudges against people who have, or seemingly have, wronged them. These incredible birds also remember kindness. Crows are extremely curious and social creatures. This can often lead them to be curious about people.

Can you feed crows dog food? ›

As I mentioned, kibbled cat or dog food (pea sized chunks) is cheap and provides complete nutrition for the omnivorous crows. Meat scraps are always a hit as is cheese and egg yolk. Sunflower seeds, peanuts, in or out of the shell, and just about anything that a teenage boy would love.

Can crows eat apples? ›

berries and fruits

Crows eat that stuff all year round, grapes, apples, blueberrys, you name it!

Can birds eat uncooked oatmeal? ›

Can birds eat oats? Yes, oats are nutritious treats enjoyed by many backyard birds. Birds like finches, cardinals, grouses, pigeons, and blackbirds are extremely fond of it. Oatmeal is an excellent source of nutrition for birds when it is uncooked.

Can birds eat popcorn? ›

Believe it or not, many pet birds enjoy snacking on popcorn. You can serve your bird either popped or unpopped kernels. If you choose to serve the popcorn unpopped, boil the kernels for a bit in plain water to soften the tough hulls.

Can uncooked rice be fed to birds? ›

We've all heard the warning: don't feed rice to birds or don't throw rice at weddings because birds will eat it. Fact is, rice cooked or uncooked won't hurt wild birds at all. The rumor is that uncooked rice hits the bird's tummy and then swells causing its stomach to explode. It's simply not true.

How can you tell if a crow likes you? ›

You'll know a crow likes what you feed it judging by how quickly it swoops down to grab it. If that pile of leftovers you leave for them sits all day, that means they just aren't interested, so try something else—just make sure it's healthy.

What kind of toys do crows like? ›

Other items that can go over well include mirrors, children's colourful block toys (make sure they are crow-proof – check with your veterinarian if necessary before introducing human toys!), egg cartons, or bottles with holes containing surprises.

How do you talk to crows? ›

(caw-caw-cawww-cawww). Make the "Fighting call" in a very excited manner consisting of two long, two short and one long call (cawww-cawww-caw-caw-cawww). The "Feeding call" is an alternate of eight short and long caws in a series, then pause one or two seconds and repeat (caw-caww, caw-caww).

Can crows eat tomatoes? ›

These birds will eat insects and small animals, but they'll also feast on seeds including sunflower seeds, sorghum and grains) as well as vegetables like lettuce, peppers, tomatoes and sweet corn. Crows also may frequent your garden and eat fruits and vegetables.

Can crows eat salt? ›

Some birds definitely eat more salt than others do. Birds that are drawn to salt include purple finches, pine siskins, nuthatches, woodpeckers, blue jays and crows.

What does it mean when crows follow you? ›

When a crow follows you, it means that bad luck or death is coming your way, or just that the crow is hungry and thinks you might have food. Alternatively, the crow might be a messenger from the beyond of a loved one who's passed, or it might be guarding its nest.

Can birds eat hard boiled eggs? ›

It might seem strange to feed them eggs, but cooked eggs are a highly nutritious and wholesome meal for many wild birds. They also love crushed eggshells, so you could even cook and crush up your boiled egg leftovers to feed to the garden birds!

Do crows communicate with humans? ›

Crows that live in captivity with human company can be taught to mimic words or talking, but no matter how much training is offered, will never be able to initiate conversation or communicate their thoughts with people using speech.

What smells do crows hate? ›

Using cedar may chase away crows, as they will not want to be irritated by the dust and smell. Garlic is another irritating, pungent smell. This burns our nasal cavities and irritates crows as well! Lemon can also be very strong and may help to deter crows from staying around!

What does it mean when crows gather around your house? ›

Crows gather in large numbers to sleep for a variety of reasons. Experts believe that these large gatherings of crows may provide warmth, protection, social opportunities, and a chance to share knowledge about food sources.

Where do crows sleep at night? ›

Roosts reach their highest numbers in late winter and may contain hundreds or even thousands of birds. Roost sites are generally located in groups of trees, often near water, and are used for many years if they aren't disturbed. Communal roosting helps crows exchange information and find mates.

What does 3 caws from a crow mean? ›

Three caws = “Danger!” ( They'll do it whenever they see a dog or a person they don't know.) Four or more caws = Territorial. “

Do crows forgive? ›

Did you know that crows can hold a grudge? In fact, they can hold a grudge for so long that it can last for generations. It seems petty, but it's actually very clever and great survival technique.

Do crows have emotions? ›

Birds do not communicate emotions directly and though behavior clues can be ambiguous, those behaviors can demonstrate a wide range of emotions to observant birders.

Are crackers good for birds? ›

Foods such as chips, cookies, and crackers are terrible food choices for birds. Not only are they full of unhealthy trans fats but they are also crammed full of sugar and salt. Remember: birds are not humans. They should be eating food that is nutritionally good for them, not filling up on junk.

Can birds eat oatmeal? ›

Can birds eat porridge oats? Yes, birds can eat porridge oats, but they need to be dry – cooked (or wet) and they will stick to and set around birds' beaks.

Is cooked rice good for birds? ›

Rice and cereals

Cooked rice, brown or white (without salt added) benefits all sorts of birds during severe winter weather. Pigeons, doves and pheasants may eat uncooked rice but it's less likely to attract other species.

Do crows remember you if you feed them? ›

If your friendship with crows is based on food they remember your generosity and bring their friends. Lots of friends. They can be quite demanding and don't understand when you stop feeding them.

Do crows like cooked pasta? ›

No matter whether it's cooked or uncooked, birds love pasta. The good thing is, it's full of energy-enhancing carbohydrates!

What does it mean when crows are in your yard? ›

Crows gather around your house because there might be a good source of food available for them. They might even find tall trees to roost, a reliable water source to bathe, or a dead crow in the backyard of your house.

What fruit do crows eat? ›

#Fruits. Almost all crow species eat various fruits, such as apples, bananas, oranges, grapes, raisins, etc. They also feed on many wild fruits, including dogwood, wild grapes, wild cherries, poison-oak, figs, and more.

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