Though, eagles are considered the royalties of the avian world.
However, crows are the bird version of gangsters.
And so, crows assume everything as their sole property.
Therefore, they often attack raptors like eagles to either steal their prey or mob them out of their territories.
Perhaps, the mere idea of an Eagle calmly enduring harassment by crows is novel to you.
So, you may wonder,
Why Do Crows Attack Birds of Prey?
Mostly, because they can.
You see, crows are the bullies of the avian world.
And so, they seldom leave any opportunity to ridicule their predators.
Consequently, crows are often seen chasing a hawk or an eagle. (I mean they are not even scared of them! Crazy right!)
But if crows are actively dive-bombing a raptor, then they may be doing so out of:
1. Territorial Behavior
Therefore, they don’t need to mark their territories.
But crows experience a surge in their testosterone levels during their breeding season.
This hormonal change makes these corvids overly aggressive and clouds their sense of judgment.
Such a territorial crow may take on unnecessary fights, even with owls and eagles.
2. Protecting Their Nests
Since crows are relatively large songbirds.
They make a wholesome meal.
Birds of prey like eagles and owls actively search for crow nests.
In fact, an owl may eat a whole family of crows in a single raid.
But like other birds, crows are extremely protective of their young ones.
And so, a nesting crow may start a mobbing against any raptor, simply because it was flying near its nest.
3. Stealing Food
Since hunting requires more effort than mere burglary.
Crows often help themselves to other birds’ eggs.
Typically, this involves one crow distracting the raptor by bomb diving from behind.
Meanwhile, other crows come in from all directions taking away the meaty prize.
This is most common with ospreys or bald eagles having fish for lunch.
4. Competition For Resources
Crows are quite the entitled birds, striving to keep resources for themselves.
Therefore, on spotting a reserve of food, crows caw to attract their own kind.
For the same reason, a crow will attack raptors from reaching even the source of food.
5. Claiming Nesting Spots
Typically, an ideal nesting place for all birds has plentiful food and water reserves as well as sturdy, thick trees.
But, once a raptor settles down in such a place, it may use the nest for years.
Since crows and eagles have overlapping nesting preferences.
This means that such conflicts are most common between these birds.
Do Crows Peck Eagles?
It certainly does.
Usually, it involves crows trying to steal that eagle’s freshly caught prey.
But if you see a murder of crows fiercely chasing away an eagle during the summer.
You see, crows are extremely protective of their own kind.
They often start a mob to protect a single crow from being eaten.
Such a mob usually involves hundreds of crows taking turns to caw and bomb-dive at a single eagle.
Have a look at this video of an eagle being mobbed by crows
Some crows may go as far as riding the eagle.
Such a dramatic event was captured by wildlife photographer – Phoo Chan.
Crow ornithologist – Kevin McGowen explained that the crow was mobbing the eagle and just got caught up in its thermal current.
According to McGowen, it was as if a dog chasing a car may accidentally end up riding that car.
Perhaps, a more appropriate question would be:
Why Does An Eagle Let Crows Harass Him?
Now, an average eagle can weigh about 6.3kg with a wingspan of 2.3 meters.
They have prominent eyes, sharp hooked beaks, and regal feathers.
Additionally, they flaunt strong muscular legs with a 7-inches spread of piercing talons. In fact,
Everything about an eagle is so majestic that they are often claimed as the ‘Kings of the Birds’.
In contrast, a typical crow weighs approximately 1kg with a wingspan of 1m (figure 1).
Though crows have poking bills, they have rather flat feet.
One may easily assume that crows are quite the regular birds.
Figure 1: Comparison between Eagles and Crows
But this notion couldn’t be further away from the truth.
Crows are far more likely to win against an eagle, than vice versa.
1. Crowd vs. Solo Assassin
Crows understand that their strength lies in their numbers, rather than physical abilities.
Therefore, they tend to stick together and never fight as solo birds.
Crows live within small groups that are part of a bigger crow tribe.
A crow tribe consists of up to thousands of crows that fiercely protect each other.
In contrast, eagles are quite territorial against their own kind.
Eagles either live alone or as mating pairs.
Even their clutch consists of only two eggs.
So, even if eagles got together to fight against crows,
The crows will always outnumber eagles.
Normally, eagles only communicate to establish their dominance.
Compared to this, crows have an intricate social structure.
Their tribes congregate for communal roosting to protect themselves.
They also share crucial survival information with each other.
All it takes is a single call for help, and the whole crow family gathers around.
Such deeply rooted communication allows the crows to synchronize their attacks.
That’s how crows take turns to dive-bomb an eagle during mobbing.
Crows have compact cranial nerves giving them excellent memories and social skills.
They can even teach learned behaviors to the next generation.
Furthermore, crows can make use of tools like sticks to scoop out the food.
Though, that allows an eagle to have excellent visuals.
But that also means that
An eagle’s brain capacity is compromised.
So, if it comes to survival, crows will likely make collective decisions that are better than any eagle.
Therefore, they can even see vivid colors aside from the visible spectrum range.
Also, they can clearly see far-away objects with a 340-degree vision.
An eagle can even spot an ant on the ground from a 10-story building.
Since eagle’s eyeballs weigh more than their brains, there is less space for other brain functions.
Eagles have less developed senses of hearing and smell.
In contrast, crows have average sensory skills.
However, they have strong social communication.
Crows are far more aware of their surroundings than any other bird, giving them higher chances of survival.
They can adjust to even drastic changes in their environments.
This also explains why crows thrive in human societies.
So, they can eat insects from trees to corn from the backyard bird feeders.
Though eagles often scavenge for dead fish.
However, an injured or weak eagle may not survive for long.
In aftermath of fighting against crows, an eagle may still die of injuries.
6. Hunting Style
Unlike falcons, eagles are not designed to grab flying birds.
Instead of speed and stamina, an eagle relies on its ability to attack from above and eat the surprised victim.
However, such attacks are impossible to perform when crows are shrieking and flying directly above an eagle.
Flying with big feathers at a short distance is rather hard.
Even though an eagle can fly faster than an average crow, it cannot achieve the precision required to stifle crows mid-air.
In contrast, crows are smaller than eagles.
In a close-combat, crows can maneuver through the air more swiftly than eagles.
Like all bullies, crows are quite persistent.
And so, they will make sure to chase an eagle until it leaves their property.
In reported incidents, one such mobbing lasted for about 6-hours! Yes that’s 6 long hours!
Perhaps, the constant cawing gives a raptor acute headache, I mean I’m sure you’d get a headache of crows cawing all the time!
How Do Eagles Get Rid Of Crows?
This may involve:
1. Reaching High Altitudes
However, crows have relatively thinner and smaller feathers.
While an eagle may soar at 20,000 feet, a crow would rather stay within 7000 feet above the ground.
Eagles fly at higher altitudes when trying to get rid of a crow mob.
2. Exiting The Territory
Eagles can fly as fast as 160km/hour while crows can fly about 120km/hour.
Hence, an eagle can easily out-fly crows.
And so, if an eagle has no mate or nest around, leaving the territory may be the easiest way to shake off crows.
3. Grabbing a Crow
Perhaps, crows annoy an eagle to the extent it finally makes an example by strangling one of them.
But this is rarely ever reported.
However, it is not entirely impossible as an eagle can carry up estimated 6.8 pounds of meat while soaring at higher altitudes.
Now, you may be curious,
What Are Eagles Afraid of?
Technically, no one.
You see, eagles stand at the top of the food chain.
So, practically they have no predators.
Arguably, eagles are afraid of owls, crows, and humans.
1. Fear of Crows?
Birds of prey are exceptionally prone to injuries.
It’s because even a small malfunction of the feet or talons may make hunting inefficient.
Injuries may indirectly cause the death of an eagle by starvation.
Therefore, most raptors tend to stay away from these birds.
2. Fear of Owls?
Owls are the creeps of the avian world.
Therefore, there is no telling when an owl may want to hunt for an eagle or steal their babies.
This is precisely why eagles dislike owls.
Related article – Are crows afraid of owls?
3. Fear Of Humans?
Eagles have special habitat and nesting requirements.
A pair of eagles may build several nests over years and breed after 5-8 years.
Even then they usually have one or two eggs.
Furthermore, human-caused pollution has been shown to erode calcium on bald eagle eggs.
So, even if eagles and humans co-exist, perhaps humans are the worst enemies of eagles.
Crows are the avian version of bullies.
They often mob out eagles to either protect their young ones or steal their prey.
Sometimes, they do so simply out of amusement.
Since an eagle prefers to steer away from injuries.
Therefore, most eagles do not react to a crow mobbing.
Instead, they fly to great altitudes to get rid of crows.
Perhaps, eagles hate owls and crows.
Although humans are the ultimate danger to them.
Here’s some related articles about crows you may be interested in