- Both of these birds are extremely intelligent (though ravens seem a bit smarter than crows) and are quite playful.
- Ravens have at least 7 different calls and can imitate the calls of other birds (geese, jays, crows). They also use stunt flying to attract mates (barrel-rolling, flying upside-down, and somersaults).
- Their breeding grounds cover most of the landmass of the northern hemisphere. They normally nest on cliffs or in trees, but have been known to nest in satellite dishes, under bridges and on top of hydro towers. Their nests are made of elaborately interwoven sticks and are lined with virtually any hair or fur that they can scavenge off carrion. In a more urban setting, they have been known to line their nests with upholstery filling and shredded rope and fabric. Some nesting sites are used for 100 years or more, each new generation rebuilding the nest as it wears out. Nests are usually 18-60 feet off the ground.
- Ravens usually lay about 4-6 eggs, breeding early in the season (February) to avoid competition. It is thought that they are monogamous and cooperative breeders, though no one is really sure. The eggs hatch in late March or early April after an 18-day incubation period. Both parents take turns incubating the eggs. The young fledge at about 1 month of age.
- They are mainly omnivorous scavengers but can also be opportunistic predators. Their menu is quite varied, including carrion, insects, small rodents, snakes, lizards, frogs, seeds, tree buds, and garbage. Studies have shown that crows eat over 600 different food items.
- Contrary to popular belief, crows do not like shiny objects (unlike other birds).
- The difference between crows and ravens is that ravens are much larger and have a wedge-shaped tail as opposed to the crow's flat tail. Ravens will also soar whereas crows will not (they will only glide in for a landing).
- Few wild crows live past 4-6 years of age. In captivity, however, crows have been known to live between 14-20 years.
IS THERE A PROBLEM? HOMEOWNER SHOULD ACCEPT NORMAL, UNOBTRUSIVE ANIMAL BEHAVIOR
Refer to SELF-HELP if:
- Feces or noise are a problem.
- Groups of crows or ravens inhabit an area.
Refer to PROFESSIONAL ASSISTANCE if:
All other measures have been taken and crows or ravens have either become a health risk or are causing property damage.
Crows and ravens are protected by the Migratory Bird Act and therefore cannot be trapped without a licence.
Removal of Attractants
- Eliminate food supply, clean-up spilled grain, garbage, fallen fruit, and birdseed.
- Wash down with mixture of bleach, water and vinegar to disinfect.
Habitat Modification & Exclusion
Exclusion measures are not that useful when it comes to these birds, though some cases may benefit from it.
- Make sure garbage cans are tightly lidded with a bungee cord stretched across the top. Cinder blocks resting on top usually work as well.
- Use netting over small trees or crops that are being eaten by crows or ravens.
- Place a cover over your car if a crow or raven keeps attacking it.
- Noise-making devices do not have much effect.
- Use Tanglefoot®: a sticky substance birds do not like.
- Aluminium pie pans swinging in the wind work sometimes.
- Crows do not like new objects, so if one is attacking your car, place a tassel on the radio antennae. This, however, is quite temporary.
- Wildlife services can obtain the required federal permits necessary to take protected birds.
- MP Bird Control (514-273-9111)
- Le Nichoir (450-458-2809)