Lately I’ve been hearing stories about people regularly leaving food out for crows only to have the crows become very fond of them, even going so far as to follow them on walks or leave small objects on their doorstep. Has anyone here managed to accomplish something like this, or at least attempted it? Do you all have any thoughts on people doing this?
When I was a child, my mom used to feed the ravens whatever leftover scraps we had, or mice from the mousetraps. They definitely learned to recognize us all, and one time we found a tiny gold chain bracelet left in the “food spot” - I can only assume one of them brought it, because we never had any people out there!
The only consequence I ever noticed was that my mom, who could not manage to imitate an adult raven call, would give the baby raven “feed me” call when she put the food out, to get their attention. Eventually the adult ravens also started to use this call… so there’s probably an entire clan of ravens out there that still communicate exclusively in baby talk.
The place I currently live is in the middle of the territory of a MASSIVE crow flock - once I sat and counted 400 fly overhead, and that wasn’t even the whole flock. But there are smaller micro-territories within it - a female crow with a crooked wing feather owns the block our house is on, and shares it with her mate and grown offspring. Just down the street, the corner by the car wash is controlled by a crow with a bad foot and a chronic limp. They don’t seem to forage in each other’s little micro territories, but there are other big gathering spots where everyone seems to go, like the safeway parking lot a few blocks away.
We sometimes give Crooked Feather and her kin little treats, so they recognize us and will call out when they see us. Twice now we’ve found hibiscus flowers left on our door mat, and none of our nearby neighbors have any growing, so I can only assume it was them?
Recently I went to meet someone at the Safeway parking lot, which is not a place I usually go - and from the middle of the crowd of crows a couple of them started shouting loudly and staring at me - they were the group from our block, who recognized me and seemed very surprised to see me in a new location!
Some people are anti feeding wild animals no matter what. I personally see no harm in feeding corvids, provided you are not feeding them so much that they begin to rely on you for a major part of their diet, and you are feeding them healthy food, and of course you are not attracting them to a dangerous area, like next to a neighbor who might shoot them.
They’re smart enough to recognize individuals, and not extrapolate to “all humans are friendly and will feed us” when one person does.
Also… don’t offend them! https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/uw-professor-learns-crows-dont-forget-a-face/
Are you familiar with the Crow Box idea? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jcp_FWfYtLY
Wow that sounds amazing, I’d love to get a bracelet from a crow lol! This is my first time hearing of the crow box too, thank you for showing me! :) What food did you guys use, do they have any favorites?
Corvids, certainly including most crows, are prolific nest predators, taking eggs, chicks, and even fledglings in large numbers. There are many things that humans do that are far more damaging to bird populations (e.g., having an outdoor cat, driving off-road, dumping) but there is lots of science showing that in areas with more human-sourced food for crows, breeding success of some other birds tends to be lower. Most of that food is not anything people intentionally give to crows, but just stuff that we make and they find. So I’d guess that feeding crows has only a slight negative effect on some other bird populations, and no effect on others.