Crows can be a pest to farmers, but also a friend. The crow is one mighty smart bird. Watch the video at the end of this article to learn a bit more about this fascinating bird.
Most farmers are not fond of crows because they eat newly planted seeds. There are not as may crows now as there used to be. The West Nile virus decreased the crow population in the 2000’s, but they seem to be increasing in number today. Before their decline, right after farmers planted their seeds, many fields turned into a battlefield. The farmers were on one side, and the crows, in flocks of 100 to more than 1,000, were on the other side. Crows love the small, emerging tender shoots of corn.
Years ago, neither the crows nor the farmers ever won the battles. It was hard for the farmers to get close enough to the crows to shoot them. Crows are among the smartest birds in the world, with extra keen sight and hearing. Crows are also very careful creatures. While some crows are digging up the seeds or shoots in a field, the others sit on the tops of the tallest trees all around the field. If the crows in the tress see the farmer coming, the caw-caw-caw shrieks warn the other crows in the fields and away they go.
Today, stretching cord or fine wire at intervals across the field, at heights of about 6 t0 8 feet in height above the ground, seem to deter crows. Aluminum, cloth strips, or aluminum pie pans are tied to the wires. Providing an alternate or decoy food source will reduce crop damage. Thinning the branches from trees removes the place for crows to roost. Using tape-recorded “squalling calls” which are crow distress calls have been used to keep crows away. Gas-operated exploders, battery-operated alarms, bright lights and more have been used to protect crops from crows.
We all know the wonderful scarecrow. Old clothes stuffed with straw were put int the field to fool the crows. The farmers hoped the crows would think the scarecrows were real people. The scarecrows were not very effective, but they made a great Halloween costume idea.
Crows are not all bad. Many scientists say that crows are our friends because they eat many insects that can harm or totally ruin farm crops. These same scientists say that crows pay for the seeds and shoots they eat by killing such pests as grubs, grasshoppers, and cutworms. One single cutworm can destroy several tender young plants overnight.
Crows are easily tamed. It is said that they make good pets. Crows recognize their owners because of their keen eyes and ears. They quickly learn the look and sounds of their owners. Crows can even be taught to say words. Just watch Joshua Klein speak about the intelligence of these creatures at http://www.ted.com/talks/joshua_klein_on_the_intelligence_of_crows.html
Published in: Gardening