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11/02/2012

Crow Prevention with Kindness



 
 

We have a problem with crows being overpopulated in South Orange County. They are rather intelligent birds and work in family groups. Crows can be noisy, aggressive and I believe they recognize human faces as individuals. I have an organic garden that I don't want them stealing produce and I don't want to use chemicals. Here are some strategies to deal with these guys.

I have a neighbor in Wyoming who decided to try and shoot at them (not actually hunt them) to scare them off his property but this action brought the wrath of the crows. First they proceeded to poop on his truck at every opportunity, then they would scream before dawn on his roof. They even tore the rubber lining off his front pickup truck windshield (pecked at the whole lining until the glass would rattle). I believe it is illegal to hunt crows in residential neighborhoods of Orange County. They are protected as migratory corvids.

The crows pull up lawns in Laguna Beach and Laguna Niguel during the Fall months looking for these white moth larvae. The damage is pretty ugly and no amount of lawn poison seems to kill off the grubs that attract the birds to come rip panels of grass up. I read that the grubs do not like clover so my lawn in the front is now predominantly three kinds of clover (red white and pink). Planting the variety keeps the lawn green year round.

When I saw the damage this year the crows were starting on my neighbors lawns I decided to take a new attitude and befriend the crows rather than shoo them away. For a week I took the heel of a loaf of bread, some peanuts, or sunflower seeds and randomly tossed them in a very showy gesture not at the crows but on my driveway. Then I waited and did my weeding. They were very suspicious of me at first. The first two days the birds did not come down until I went back into the house. On the third day the largest bird hopped down waiting for me to spin the food into the air and called his buddies to join in the meal. Now three weeks later I feed them randomly twice a week, and they have left us alone.



Maybe making peace is easier than prevention. In the photograph is an apple and a persimmon tree that a neighbor is using brown grocery bags and paper clips to keep the crows away from stealing the fruit. Perhaps it’s also to keep the south side from sunburn, we’ll see if it works. Don’t start calling me Tippi Hedren...

Update to story 4/9/2013 here: http://cgbarbeau.blogspot.com/2013/04/peace-with-crows.html more to follow
 

2 comments:

  1. Hi, I was researching corvids in OC and found your post. As an OC homeowner AND crow/raven aficionado, thank you for your humane and compassionate, and solution-oriented approach to working with the flora and fauna. I laud it. And, it's kind of an interesting experiment. I'm curious to know how it panned out over the last 5 months.
    Best regards,
    Ryan

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    1. Finky the kid cute name
      I'm still working on it with wonderful learning results. Results: reduced water bill,I never purchase lawn chemicals, I don't use pesticides, and the crows behaviors have become amazingly peaceful with my family of teens and pets. I'm working on a new post about it. Only negative was my neighbor who complained to our HOA (the crows target her lol) that's another story. new post here http://cgbarbeau.blogspot.com/2013/04/peace-with-crows.html

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