How To Befriend a Crow?

While pet birds shower their human keepers with both attention and affection, these normally don’t fulfill a very human need of having brain-stimulating interactions.

Still, certain birds have shown intelligence beyond human comprehension.

If you are seeking a perceptive avian partner, then befriending a crow is the right choice. 

Now, it would have been easier if you could just telephone a crow and invite it over for a cup of tea.

Then, ask the bird if it fancies some coconut cookies or fries on the side.  

Though that sounds awfully romantic, it’s somewhat true. 

You see, crows are wild birds that can neither be adopted nor tamed into cuddly pets. So,

The only way to find a crow friend is by luring it in and making it comfortable around you.

But if you are wondering how exactly, then I present to you:

How To Be Friends With a Crow (Step By Step Guide) 

Step: 1: Set up a Crow- friendly Environment

Crows frequently visit safe and comfortable places.

So, consider the following parameters:

Parameter Ideal Conditions Reasons/Remarks Suggestion
Location Open Spaces. Open spaces have a low risk of getting entrapped. Therefore, crows prefer open spaces over narrow ones as they can come and leave at their will. Use your backyards or lawns to accommodate crows.
Acoustics Noiseless and calm. Though crows are quite noisy, they prefer calm spaces because they have fewer predators. Remove noise-causing objects such as wind chimes, bells, music.
Terrain Grassy plots with trees or fences. Crows have large chicken-like feet. Therefore, they need thick perches to sit. Install roosting perches, thick fences, or plant trees for crows to sit and enjoy.
Shelters Some trees and bushes for hiding, nesting, or resting. While crows are not easy prey. However, they are certainly fulfilling. Therefore, they prefer some shelter as an emergency escape. Plant some bushes, shrubs or install a shed.
Remove Threats No raptors or violent pets. No bird likes unsafe areas. Call in wildlife services to manage raptors.

Keep your pets inside; Cut overgrown grass to stop your cats from sneaking; Tie bells around your violent pets to work as a warning bell.

Others A tidy place with colorful props and no scary surprises. Crows have shown a preference for colorful and shiny objects. Regularly clean your place.

Cars should be parked farthest from crows so as not to startle them.

Step: 2: Attract Crows

After setting up your place for crows, you can attract them through the following methods:

Method How it Works Considerations Remarks
Offer Food Crows are omnivorous scavengers that can eat almost anything. However, like all other wild animals, they like to visit a regular source of their favorite treats. Offer only limited amounts. Otherwise, crows will store or become dependant on you. 

You can spread food morsels around. However, a dedicated food station is an easier and cleaner choice.

Since crows have several food sources. Therefore, they grow finicky regarding their diet.

Offer only healthy treats.

Provide Water Crows love drinking water, taking baths, or dipping their food in water to either cleanse it or make it softer to swallow.

Therefore, crows visit regular water sources.

Providing water in shallow but large trays allows crows to take baths.

But 2-3inches deep water containers are best.

Make sure that these water containers are sturdy enough to not knock over. 

Also, regularly de-ice water in winters. 

Crow Props Adding a life-sized crow statue may attract crows by stimulating their curiosity. Make sure to not hang scary Halloween crow decorations as that can cause crows to abhor you.  While it does work, I don’t encourage this method as it has the potential to scare away crows.
Crow Calls These are crow calls resembling natural crow sounds used to attract other crows. Electronic crow calls are easy to operate. However, manual crow calls are usually more intriguing as they allow more flexibility. If you are using a manual crow call, you are supposed to grunt and not blow through the device.
Shiny Vibrant Objects Crows have shown a liking to shiny and colorful objects. You can attract crows’ attention to your place by placing shiny objects near food. Moving reflective tape can actually cause crows to leave your place.
Pests and Grubs Since crows love eating grubs and other small animals. Therefore, they will be attracted to your lawn if you still have pests around. Don’t use chemical methods to kill off pests.
Trash Cans Crows often scavenge through trash cans. Therefore, the presence of trash cans will likely attract crows. Crows may spread the mess around. You can attract crows without using this method.

What Kind Of Food Should I Give To The Crows?

Anything from kitchen scrapes to pet food and roadkill.

However, urban crows grow extremely picky as they have several sources of food available. Therefore, you may have to find your crows’ preferences through the hit-and-trial method.

Even so, certain treats almost always work:

  1. Unsalted and shelled peanuts
  1. Boiled eggs
  2. Kitchen scraps, minced or cooked meat
  3. Grains, cracked corn, and sunflower seeds
  4. Caterpillars and grubs
  5. Fleshy fruits and vegetables.

Step: 3: Set Up a Routine And Create a Tradition

Crows visit places with not only their favorite treats but also reliable supply.

For this I have a few suggestions:

  1. Store in large food packs to ensure you always have something to feed your crows.
  2. Set up fixed times to put food outside. 
  3. Set up some pre-food disposal rituals. For instance, make a special sound or crow call right before dispensing food in containers. 
  4. Regularly change the waters in birdbaths as well as cleanse your place.
  5. Only offer a fixed amount of food. Otherwise, crows will become dependant on you.

Step: 4: Build Up Trust

Birds are naturally paranoid creatures.

Therefore, earning their trust takes a lot of effort and time.

You must remain consistent, polite, and respectful at all times.

I suggest:

  1. Don’t make sudden movements but keep your routine.
  2. Don’t yell in the presence of crows. Instead, speak softly and keep your voice low. 
  3. Keep at least a 2-feet distance from crows.
  4. Sit near them to make sure they get used to your presence. 

Step: 5: Lower Your Expectations

At this point, you may have invested enough to want this relationship to take another step.

However, crows are wild birds that you are supposed to only appreciate from afar.

They grow impatient and flee if they are approached the wrong way.

So, 

You need to lower your expectations, as crows are still just birds. 

Now, they can flatter you with their presence, fascinate you with their beauty, and engage you with their intelligence.

But crows will remain wild birds.

If you still think your affection needs to reach the crow through some forced petting then, know that the true manifestation of love comes from deep respect and appreciation, not just overwhelming expression.

That said, you can still earn some crow cuddles, which leads us to:

Step: 6: Let The Crow Come To You

This will require extreme patience on your behalf.

In fact, some crows may never leave their comfort zone to come near you. 

But you can aid this process by the following method

  1. Take a partially smoked piece of salmon and put it on a sheet of aluminum foil. Then, place that sheet on your lap. The pungent odor of Salmon will attract crows.
  2. Sit still, and make no sudden movements for at least half-hour on daily basis.
  3. If a crow approaches you, then give the piece to it. 
  4. Slowly the crow will hop directly onto you and allow you to even pet.

However, befriending crows raise several ethical concerns.

So, before you even begin the process of making a crow friend, check for the following:

Concerns Associated with Crow-Human Friendships

Concern Detail Suggestion/ Remarks
Legal Concerns Since crows are wild birds. Therefore, it may be illegal in your state to feed or raise crows. Check your local wildlife center for guidelines.
Noise Crows cause extreme noise that may be unacceptable to your neighbors. Check-in with neighbors before befriending a crow.
Commitment Ethical responsibility to feed those crows as long as you can. Weigh all your responsibilities, expenses as well as time.
Population Concerns A notion that feeding crows will make their population thrive to the point that these crows will end up hurting entire ecosystems.  Crows and humans have lived together for centuries with no apparent issues. Still, 

Ensure you only feed treats and not make crow colonies dependent on your food.

If you have addressed all these concerns and befriended a crow.

Then, you may be wondering:

How Do You Play With a Crow?

You can install some bird puzzles and reward your crows with food.

That said, crows are enlisted as migratory birds in the USA.

They are protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.

It is illegal to possess, hurt, adopt, trade, or even touch crows or their eggs in the US. 

Violation of this act may result in a fine or imprisonment for up to 3 years.

The same is true for several countries. 

In fact, you cannot legally aid some injured crow and report later, saying that you are now inseparable buddies. 

So, for most parts, you can only observe your crows do tricks from afar.

Besides, crows don’t make good pets as they need constant entertainment and mental stimulation to remain healthy. 

Can You Talk To a Crow?

You can but it will likely be a one-sided speech.

Now, crows are intelligent enough to perceive social cues. 

For instance, most small animals flee whenever they see a human approaching their direction.

However, a crow only flies away when a human fixates his gaze and walks towards it. 

This shows that crows can grasp the concept of social norms.

However, crows cannot learn to talk like parrots do.

Why?

Because of the following:

a. Crow Brain Limitations

As songbirds, crows also have the Song System – a brain region dedicated to mimicking and creating sound. The crow’s song system possesses an inner core and a shell.

However, they lack the “Outer shell” present in parrots. 

Since the outer shell is exclusive for memories and mimicking skills.

Therefore, a crow can never speak as a parrot does.

b. Exposure

Since crows are not regular pets, they get limited exposure to human speech. And so,

While you can talk to a crow, it may never reciprocate your speech.

I think you will find this article I wrote very interesting – Can crows talk? I go into more detail about this

Can a Crow Recognize You?

They most certainly can.

In fact, they can not only recognize human faces but can even tell their fellows about it. 

In one study, crows were exposed to masked humans holding a dead crow. This resulted in crows scolding all the masked people within a 10-mile radius.

They can also remember people that are kind to them.

In fact, certain crow friends have claimed that their favorite crows kept visiting them even during winters. 

Some even receive tokens of love. 

Now, you may be questioning: 

Do Crows Give Gifts?

They do especially if they are conditioned to think that you will give them more treats if they just bring you a shiny object.

The most famous story comes from Seattle where an 8-year old girl – Gabi Mann started to feed crows.

Their bond grew to the extent that crows started bringing her small objects from pins to coins.

The girl made headlines throughout the world.

But, in February 2015, she got sued for $200,000 by two of her neighbors who claimed that she had caused them a lot of property damage as well as unnatural crow noise. 

The precise details of the case proceedings are not well known.

Wrapping Up

If you want a crow friend you must create a safe crow-friendly space.

Offer the crow its favorite treats and water.

In time the crow will grow comfortable around you.

It may even let you pet itself.

You can talk softly to the crow and it will likely remember you. 

And who knows, it may even bring you gifts one day.

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