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4/09/2013

Peace With Crows


This is an update to my story about trying to deal with an overpopulation of crows in Laguna Niguel California. The crows are aggressive and tear up lawns, and destroy property. Rather than the typical pest control approach, I have found success dealing with the many black birds as friends who have a right to my hillside and ocean view in Orange County. Old post here: http://cgbarbeau.blogspot.com/2012/11/crow-prevention.html

Sunflowers in my garden in Laguna Niguel

Crow on streetlight in Dana Point
I experimented with the following procedures:

Feeding the crows sparingly while I am outdoors in my garden.
Not acting hostile or shooing them away, sometimes allowing them to eat my sunflowers when they go to seed.
Planting three kinds of clover in the lawn areas, and plenty of wildflowers and seed bearing annuals that offer bright color and food for a variety of song birds, and the crows.
Never buying any chemicals for lawn and garden, finding natural balances.
I have been more than happy with the results. Some solutions lead to surprises.



My clover lawn has prevented the crows from tearing up the roots to be able to eat those large white grubs. Because its roots are deeper and winding the crows don’t bother with my lawn but also I do still randomly befriend them.

I still have the grubs in the lawn and continue to use NO pesticides no herbicides and no chemicals in all of my garden. I allow the clover to go 4 weeks and then mow it. After mowing it is the brightest neon green. I think it is much prettier than any rolled out sod.

The clover mix works and lasts through the summer heat. Because I just threw red white and pink seeds out, they seem to rotate in the seasons as to which variety is the strongest. The white likes full sun and heat while the red flowering prefers cooler and shade. The clover puts nitrogen into the soil and the clippings compost in days into soil that has added natural nitrogen.

 

I water much less, waiting for the clover to actually look wilted dry.  I didn’t have the sprinklers on all winter or so far this spring. In the summer my “grass areas” only need watering once a week in the morning before light.  I am conserving water (making my bill with Moulton Niguel Water less) and saving money on an expense.

 

As to the crows--- There is a large pair and my teenagers have named about five of them that we can recognize by injuries to their wings, personality and calls. The crows never “poop” on our cars, but yes on other people’s cars. We have an elderly Golden Retriever who likes to sunbathe and the crows seem to know her as well.  I put out peanuts or the heel of sprouted bread or a piece of fruit in the same spot in the front maybe once a week and they are gracious about the treats.

 

Miraculously the crows have left alone the mourning doves nesting in my front yard gazebo and the towhees who tap at the brass reflections on my front doors. Fidalgo (a California towhee who has been around a year) is free to obsess about the bird in the reflection of the windows in my living room. I put this fake blue bird to clue him that the mirror reflection is not a towhee but he cannot stop himself. The towhee is another story, but in short they are terrific because they eat spiders, snails and pill bugs.

 

All things in balance, the crows were here first.

 
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