There are two main species of Crows, the large common crow found across the country and the smaller fish crow found in the Southeast. The Common Crow is a big black colored bird approximately 17 to 20 inches long with a strong stout build and a compressed bill. The Fishing Crow is a smaller darker version of the Common Crow.
Both have a scavenger's diet and will eat a wide variety of things. Such food items include insects, frogs, small snakes, eggs, mice and dead animal carcasses. Crows will also eat newly planted crops such as corn. Crows are well known for their intelligence. They are social birds and the flock is in constant communication making hunting or capture of the bird very difficult. The Crow's native history along with its helpful bug eating habits have insured its Federally protected status.
Control is possible by driving away flocks of Crows and other blackbirds with falconry, pyrotechnics, harassment, tree modification, live trapping and audio/visual scare devices. To maximize effectiveness, hang visual products in trees before commencing noise campaign. They can be kept off ledges using spikes or electrical track. Two inch mesh net will exclude crows completely from most areas.
Crows are frequently a big agricultural pest bird due to their fondness for corn and other farm crops, but they are a minor urban pest compared to the pigeon, starling or house sparrow. These birds can overwhelm trees, creating a lot of noise and harassing people and animals in the vicinity which can be a nuisance to the suburban resident. Furthermore, like any pest bird, dropping buildup can lead to structural damage from the uric acid while also posing a health risk due to the harborage of disease.
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Crows are committed nest builders. They typically build nests in trees, twenty to sixty feet off the ground. The nest consists of sticks and twigs with shredded bark, grass or a similar material lining it.
Crows have one or two broods a year, averaging four to seven eggs per brood. Incubation takes eighteen days with a four to five week fledgling period before the young leave the nest. The eggs range from pale bluish-green to olive green or greenish-brown with splotches of brown and olive-gray.
Migratory in upper parts of the country. Northern birds will fly thousands of miles south during the winter, while southern birds stay put year round. One notable characteristic about Crows is their flocking behavior. In fall and winter they will move to better feeding areas where they will coalesce into massive feeding flocks. Thesefeeding flocks in turn, join up with other flocks at night to form enormous communal roosts numbering from a couple thousand to tens of thousands.