Saturday, October 15, 2016

Crow Damage and Control by Joyce D'agostina

American Crow, photo courtesy
Attracting birds, bees and butterflies to your garden has always been a great idea. However this year, I have notice a much larger population of the black crow, Corvus corax, in our neighborhood. Crows have been known for many years to be foragers who will eat just about anything, including your favorite garden fruits and vegetables.

About mid-summer, when some of my tomatoes were finally ripening, I heard a commotion in the garden and noticed several of the crows flying out of my garden area. To my disappointment, they had helped themselves to several of the ripe tomatoes and also had done damage to a few others.

Since I am not always available to catch these crows when they are in my garden, I had to think of something to help deter them. The magpies also were very interested in my garden crops so I had to think fast to try to come up with something to deter them without doing harm or damaging my garden. Crows are known to be very clever birds with great memories and tend to travel in groups so that they help protect each other as they forage so I had to find something effective.

Mylar windsock, photo by Joyce D'agostina
One item that I saw in a gardening catalog is a windsock type device that you hang in your garden. This item was made from a Mylar plastic that caused bright hologram type lights as the streamers move in the breeze. This was reported to be annoying and a deterrent to birds but was harmless to bees and butterflies.

I purchased one of these windsocks and hung it in the garden. I noticed almost immediately that the birds stayed away from the garden and no more plucked or pecked tomatoes. It was also hanging close to a Lavender Hyssop which the bees love and it didn’t seem to cause any issues with them continuing to enjoy that plant. This seemed to be a good solution because I didn’t want to use any chemicals or other harmful solutions to keep these hungry birds from my garden.

Scarecrows, photo courtesy Wikipedia

Scarecrows have also been for centuries as a way for farmers to keep these birds from their crops. The idea was to make a large figure that resembled a human that would make the birds think that there were people in the garden, which scared them away. Today Scarecrows are found all around the world and there are scarecrow making contests. Adding a scarecrow to your garden will not only possibly help keep away the bird pests but also add a great seasonal look to your garden. If you google Scarecrows and your city or county name, you may find a local event featuring scarecrows.