Gardening for Butterflies, Birds and Bees forum: Afraid to ask but...............

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Name: Laurie b
Western Washington (Zone 7b)
Houseplants Region: Pacific Northwest Sedums Orchids Tropicals Region: Mexico
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lauriebasler
Dec 3, 2016 3:49 AM CST
Are there any crow fans here? I did search this forum for any sign of crow fans, and am curious as to their reputation among knowledgeable bird lovers.

I find I am very fascinated with their personalities and their intellect. Are they a nuisance, for bird lovers?

In Washington, I feed them when snow becomes deep and I see them looking for food. I worry about upsetting neighbors so I don't make a habit of it, and our snowfall is far from annual. Watching them arrive in the trees, one calling the others. Those on the ground shared with ease. One batch would eat, and go to the trees, and a different batch would eat. It looked to me as if every crow had a fair share. It was just so interesting.


One day last summer, a glorious bald eagle perched on a tree in the back yard, hunting a small cat of mine, who was hunting a dangerous and wiggling blade of grass. I watched the eagle prepare to swoop down in my cats direction, and running out the door, I wondered how fast I could make it outside to protect my lil girl, if necessary. All of a sudden 20 or so crows began bravely flying straight at the eagle and screaming. It went on for 10 or 15 minutes. The eagle was 4 times as large as any crow in the air attack, but not one crow backed down, and the eagle was not able to steady itself long enough to retaliate at all. The eagle gave up and flew off. Could it be the crows were being protective of this yard, where they have been fed, or is it more likely I am a little soft in the head here?

Is there a mix of bird food good for them in winter, and is feeding them a foolish thing to do?

Thanks for your honest information. This forum is one I really have come to enjoy.

Laurie B
Name: Cynthia (Cindy)
Melvindale, Mi (Zone 5b)
Daylilies Hybridizer Irises Butterflies Charter ATP Member Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
Birds Region: Michigan Vegetable Grower Hummingbirder Heucheras Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge)
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Hemlady
Dec 3, 2016 7:45 AM CST
My sister is a big crow fan. She feeds them peanuts and they just love them. She also said that they are very smart and if she goes out of the house without feeding them, they will announce to her that they are there and want food. She said they won't stop with the noise until she feeds them.
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upat5
Dec 3, 2016 9:14 AM CST
I am!!!!!! We put food scraps out but we don't bury the food as you are supposed to around here because we have a fairly healthy black bear population...the reason I don't worry is that we have an even healthier crow and raven population and the birds are faster than the mammals :)! On occasion we have thrown out pizza slices or veggie burgers that have expired and within seconds crows will have picked up the loot and you might catch a slice of pizza whizzing by the window if you're lucky but nothing stays around for too long! I usually bang on a plate to let the crows know there's food...they seem to know what that means!

Forgot to add that crows, mockingbirds, ravens, blue jays among others participate in "mobbing behaviour" that protects themselves and other hapless creatures that might fall prey to raptors etc. In my neighbourhood crows "mob" hawks and ravens, both skillful hunters. You'll see crows encircling and diving at or chasing potential winged (and non-winged...I've been tapped by an angry mockingbird!) predators.
[Last edited by upat5 - Dec 4, 2016 7:13 AM (+)]
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Name: Robin
Southern Michigan (Zone 6a)
I'm the gnome in my garden...
Region: Michigan Seller of Garden Stuff Seed Starter Cat Lover Daylilies
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RobinSeeds
Dec 3, 2016 12:24 PM CST
Yeah, I don't think you're soft in the head Laurie...unless I am too. I really think the Crows were protecting your yard and your kitten. Cool story, thanks for sharing.

In case you haven't seen this video, it's a Crow snowboarding on a roof, er...Crowboarding.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?...
Name: Cheryl
Brownstown, Pennsylvania (Zone 6b)
Native Plants and Wildflowers Photo Contest Winner: 2017 Composter Organic Gardener Million Pollinator Garden Challenge The WITWIT Badge
Garden Photography Photo Contest Winner: 2016 Bee Lover Butterflies Hummingbirder Spiders!
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nativeplantlover
Dec 7, 2016 9:41 PM CST
Crows are very intelligent! Some can talk, or rather mimic. I once knew a man that had one that was a "pet" of sorts. It flew freely
as it pleased, but always came by for treats. It was missing a leg, but very smart! If it was around when you called "crow crow" it would fly in to check up.
"My work is loving the world. Here the sunflowers, there the hummingbird — equal seekers of sweetness. Here the clam deep in the speckled sand. Are my boots old? Is my coat torn? Am I no longer young, and still not half-perfect? Let me keep my mind on what matters, which is my work which is mostly standing still and learning to be astonished." — Mary Oliver, from Messenger
Name: Cynthia (Cindy)
Melvindale, Mi (Zone 5b)
Daylilies Hybridizer Irises Butterflies Charter ATP Member Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
Birds Region: Michigan Vegetable Grower Hummingbirder Heucheras Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge)
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Hemlady
Dec 8, 2016 9:31 AM CST
My grandfathers neighbor had a pet crow and he had a regular stand set up for it in his veggie garden. It stayed there most of the day. He named it Mario.
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Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
Always count your blessings in life
Cat Lover Houseplants Plays in the sandbox Region: California Orchids Plant Lover: Loves 'em all!
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tarev
Dec 8, 2016 9:49 AM CST
I enjoy watching the crows, when they come around our city trees near my house. Sometimes they seem like chatting wildly, quite social. One time I saw one pecking at my neighbors window, then I realized it was watching its own image, and thought there is another bird on the other side Hilarious!

There are many robins flying about here, and I notice they are noticeably absent when the crows are around. I don't feed them though. Got to keep them wild as Nature wants them to be.

Crows are good indicators if there is west nile virus prevalent around, though it means they will be the victims of the virus first.

Some do not like to see a crow suddenly, since they deem it like an omen. Shrug!
Name: Dee Moore
Arroyo Grande, CA (Zone 9a)
Seller of Garden Stuff Seed Starter Garden Art Butterflies Annuals Cactus and Succulents
Greenhouse Container Gardener Region: California Winter Sowing Garden Photography I helped beta test the first seed swap
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DomehomeDee
Dec 8, 2016 10:23 AM CST
I enjoyed reading your crow story. We don't have many crows in my area. I do see occasionally see them in a park or parking lot.
Yesterday I saw a huge flock overhead, they were just little specks but I could tell they were crows by their cawing to one another. I like crows too and have a lovely picture my daughter painted of one.
Thumb of 2016-12-08/DomehomeDee/ab3628

[Last edited by DomehomeDee - Dec 8, 2016 10:24 AM (+)]
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Name: Audrey
Central Texas (Zone 8a)
Organic Gardener Keeper of Poultry Keeps Horses Butterflies Hummingbirder Photo Contest Winner: 2015
Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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Esperanza
Dec 8, 2016 10:59 AM CST
I think you might like reading this cute story

http://www.bbc.com/news/magazi...

Lots of people love the birds in their garden, but it's rare for that affection to be reciprocated. One young girl in Seattle is luckier than most. She feeds the crows in her garden - and they bring her gifts in return.
Name: Lin
Southeast Florida (Zone 10a)

Region: United States of America Deer Region: Florida Charter ATP Member Million Pollinator Garden Challenge I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
Garden Procrastinator Birds Butterflies Bee Lover Hummingbirder Container Gardener
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plantladylin
Dec 8, 2016 11:57 AM CST
The American Crow is a very intelligent bird and it is sad to see them grab a baby bird or an egg from another birds nest but they gotta eat too ... it's all part of nature.

There's great information about the American Crow at these two sites:

Audubon: http://www.audubon.org/field-g...
All About Birds: https://www.allaboutbirds.org/...

I think Crows are rather attractive with their stocky build, shiny black feathers and their thick bill. I sometimes see a single Crow while at other times there are large flocks of them; these photos are from last year and earlier:

Thumb of 2016-12-08/plantladylin/047116 Thumb of 2016-12-08/plantladylin/c9bb2b
Thumb of 2016-12-08/plantladylin/45c85f Thumb of 2016-12-08/plantladylin/b40e38

~ Playing in the dirt is my therapy ... and I'm in therapy a lot! ~


Name: Christine
North East Texas (Zone 7b)
Moon Gardener Herbs Seed Starter Tomato Heads Vegetable Grower Organic Gardener
Native Plants and Wildflowers Canning and food preservation Keeper of Poultry Hummingbirder Birds Dragonflies
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wildflowers
Dec 8, 2016 12:20 PM CST
I have a fondness of the crows. They do keep the hawks and other predators away. Crows are territorial but just maybe they're also protecting other animals within their territory. As smart as they are, I wouldn't be surprised. I've told this story before about how the crows saved one of my chickens. Just like you described, Laurie, the crows literally attacked a hawk as it swooped down and grabbed one of my hens. Then chased the hawk until it left the scene of the crime, screaming the whole time. It was quite a scene and amazing to watch it happen while running to try to save the hen but knowing I was too far away! Nowadays, my chickens always listen to the calls of the crows who seem to tell them when a hawk or other predators are near.

Our local crows come around more in the winter and will eat from the chicken feeders. It is interesting to watch them as they call to each other from the treetops. Although sometimes it feels like they are watching us a little too closely! Hilarious! In the mornings we can see them through the windows but apparently they can see us too because as soon as we move, they fly away!

May your life be like a wildflower, growing freely in the beauty and joy of each day --Native American Proverb

Name: Cynthia (Cindy)
Melvindale, Mi (Zone 5b)
Daylilies Hybridizer Irises Butterflies Charter ATP Member Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
Birds Region: Michigan Vegetable Grower Hummingbirder Heucheras Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge)
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Hemlady
Dec 9, 2016 8:08 AM CST
Crows do watch people closely, especially if you feed them. My sister, who feeds crows, says as soon as she opens her blinds in the morning, they start cawing, wanting to be fed. She often just keeps the blinds closed because they hassle her so much.
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Name: Rosie
HILLSBOROUGH, NC (Zone 7b)
If it sparkles - I'm there!
Garden Art Region: North Carolina Bookworm Plays in the sandbox Deer Dragonflies
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MISSINGROSIE
Dec 9, 2016 8:51 AM CST
We have HERD of crows in our woods ... because FLOCK is too mild.
They holler at each other all day...and even tho they may snatch an egg every now and again..if a snake comes up toward the nest of babies...they raise holy hell!

Here is some crow art made from 45s I saw in Asheville
Thumb of 2016-12-09/MISSINGROSIE/a25448
Thumb of 2016-12-09/MISSINGROSIE/c258f8
Thumb of 2016-12-09/MISSINGROSIE/6f4823

Don't squat with yer spurs on!

People try to turn back their "odometers." Not me. I want people to know 'why' I look this way. I've traveled a long way and some of the roads weren't paved
[Last edited by MISSINGROSIE - Dec 9, 2016 9:33 AM (+)]
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Name: Lin
Southeast Florida (Zone 10a)

Region: United States of America Deer Region: Florida Charter ATP Member Million Pollinator Garden Challenge I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
Garden Procrastinator Birds Butterflies Bee Lover Hummingbirder Container Gardener
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plantladylin
Dec 9, 2016 9:55 AM CST
Rosie, that art is wonderful! It amazes me, the vision and talent that some folks have. I would have bought one of those Crows in a heartbeat! Smiling

When we bought this house 7 months ago, the former owners left a pair of Egret's that are made from PVC. One leg is raised and the other is tapered to a point for staking into the ground. I placed one by the swimming pool and one by our little pond. It's been raining but I went out and took a couple of photos to share:
Thumb of 2016-12-09/plantladylin/8bfcc2 Thumb of 2016-12-09/plantladylin/5a5271

Here's a close up of the head, it looks like a screw and washer were used for the eyes.
Thumb of 2016-12-09/plantladylin/42d586

~ Playing in the dirt is my therapy ... and I'm in therapy a lot! ~


Name: Robin
Southern Michigan (Zone 6a)
I'm the gnome in my garden...
Region: Michigan Seller of Garden Stuff Seed Starter Cat Lover Daylilies
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RobinSeeds
Dec 9, 2016 7:15 PM CST
Beautiful painting by your talented Daughter Dee, it looks like your love of nature is contagious!

I think I'm going to start feeding the Crows and test those trinket/treasure payments. I'd more than likely feed the only Crows in the world that have access to IOU notes. Hilarious! That was a cute story @Esperanza, thanks for sharing it!
Name: Lin
Southeast Florida (Zone 10a)

Region: United States of America Deer Region: Florida Charter ATP Member Million Pollinator Garden Challenge I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
Garden Procrastinator Birds Butterflies Bee Lover Hummingbirder Container Gardener
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plantladylin
Dec 9, 2016 7:33 PM CST
@DomehomeDee oh my goodness, how did I miss that beautiful painting your daughter created, truly a work of art! Lovey dubby
I truly admire those who have talent like that; do you have any more of her paintings you could share photos of?
~ Playing in the dirt is my therapy ... and I'm in therapy a lot! ~


Name: Dee Moore
Arroyo Grande, CA (Zone 9a)
Seller of Garden Stuff Seed Starter Garden Art Butterflies Annuals Cactus and Succulents
Greenhouse Container Gardener Region: California Winter Sowing Garden Photography I helped beta test the first seed swap
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DomehomeDee
Dec 9, 2016 11:24 PM CST
I have to ask her for a copy of the DVD we made with her paintings on it. She is 30 and had never sold a painting, the local animal rescue where she volunteered asked if she would donate a painting to their fundraising event. She donated several and they were very well received. We have since made some cards from them and sold a few copies at a gallery. She is an animal lover and works at a local veterinary office. She figures after her kids get a little older she'll spent some time painting for sale. She paints exclusively birds now but would like to do dog portraits. As you can tell I'm very proud of her talent, I have done some painting myself but don't have near the talent she does.
Name: Robin
Southern Michigan (Zone 6a)
I'm the gnome in my garden...
Region: Michigan Seller of Garden Stuff Seed Starter Cat Lover Daylilies
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RobinSeeds
Dec 9, 2016 11:25 PM CST
I agree Lin, I'd like to see more!
Name: Christine
North East Texas (Zone 7b)
Moon Gardener Herbs Seed Starter Tomato Heads Vegetable Grower Organic Gardener
Native Plants and Wildflowers Canning and food preservation Keeper of Poultry Hummingbirder Birds Dragonflies
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wildflowers
Dec 10, 2016 8:53 AM CST
Wow, I missed that too, Dee. It's a wonderful crow painting. Lovey dubby

Thanks for bringing it to attention, Robin. Thumbs up
May your life be like a wildflower, growing freely in the beauty and joy of each day --Native American Proverb

Name: Robin
Southern Michigan (Zone 6a)
I'm the gnome in my garden...
Region: Michigan Seller of Garden Stuff Seed Starter Cat Lover Daylilies
Image
RobinSeeds
Dec 10, 2016 11:29 AM CST
I think the Egrets have a pretty talented sculptor too, how unique are those?

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