Crows – Are They Really Bad for the Garden?

Gardening is a lovely hobby and passion that many people truly enjoy. There are many reasons why gardening is a great way to pass your free time. First of all, it’s a great way to relax and also to get back in touch with nature. Another reason why is that gardening is a hobby that’s great for both your mind AND your body. People of any age can enjoy it, and it’s a hobby you can share with your family. Besides, what’s more fulfilling than eating fruits and vegetables harvested from your garden? What’s better than displaying flowers you grew yourself? Of course, if you want to make sure your shrubs and flowers remain safe, then you might need to learn how to keep crows away from garden plants.

Crows do have quite a bad reputation for sort of being pests that can ruin gardens by destroying plants. However, sometimes these crows may just also be misunderstood. In today’s article we are going to be discussing everything from what crows are to whether they’re misunderstood or not. We’ll also be talking about how to keep crows away from garden plants – regardless of whether they’re misunderstood or not.

Before we begin, we want to preface this by saying that everything we will be stating here is done with kindness and humaneness in mind. We do not want crows to be harmed, and we also do not condone the harming of crows in any way. Please treat crows you find in your garden humanely – with the help of all the tips we will be listing below!

Without further ado, let’s talk about crows.

What Are Crows?

Crows are a bit of a famous species of bird. They’ve been mentioned in literature before, and are often used for symbolism of a sort. Crows come from the same genus as ravens – the Corvus genus. There are many similarities between these two types of birds, but despite these they are still different from each other.

How Do I Identify Crows?

You can identify ravens because they are bigger and their throat feathers are shaggy. Crows on the other hand, are smaller. Crows do not have wedge-shaped tails, while ravens do. If you see the bird doing somersaults while they fly – it’s more likely that it’s a raven than a crow. Another main difference between the two is the sound they make. Crows make strong, harsh “caws” while a raven’s sound is more like a throaty croak.

What Do Crows Eat?

Crows often feed from stuff they find in the ground. So they’ll eat things like earthworms, fruit, and seeds. At times, they will also feed on small animals. Crows may also sometimes go through garbage, or.  feed off animal carcasses (such as roadkill or various carrion). Another thing crows might do is steal chicks right from their nests.

How Smart are Crows?

Crows may seem like just your typical bird, but the fact is that they are actually quite smarter than you would think. From an article on (you should read it – it’s quite informational), it is stated that crows actually have a body-to-brain ratio that is almost the same as dolphins. According to that same article, that ratio is actually only slightly lower in comparison to the ratio of humans.

Therefore, it comes as no surprise that crows have plenty of brain power. In fact, you might even see some crows using things like sticks as “tools” and probes. Furthermore, you might even see crows picking up things like hard-shelled nuts. They will then drop these nuts on a road and wait for a car to crack them. They truly do seem like quite the smart species.

Are Crows Bad For My Garden?

Before we discuss how to keep crows away from garden plants, first we must talk about whether crows actually do damage to your garden or not.

Whether or not crows are actually bad for your garden is something that can be perhaps a little hard to answer. The quick answer might be yes – after all, if they weren’t bad for your garden, then why do scarecrows exist? Logically, it’s easy to decide that yes, crows are indeed bad for your garden. If people have been trying to scare them off for centuries, then there must be a reason for that, right?

Well, let’s take a look at crows again.

First of all, crows are omnivorous. They adapt quite well and will eat whatever is available to them. They aren’t typically scavengers like they might be depicted on tv and in movies – in fact, roadkill is only a tiny fraction of a typical crow’s diet. In fact, they’ll eat plenty of grains, seeds, nuts, spiders, snails, fruit, snakes, mice, and frogs. They have also even been known to eat live fish, or other creatures from the sea.

Within a crow’s diet you already see that they can as a matter of fact help with a few things in your garden.

Are Crows Pest, or Pest Control?

According to the Humane Society (, a family of crows can eat up to forty thousand – yes, 40,000! – small insects during ONE season of nesting. That’s 40,000 caterpillars, grubs, armyworms, and tons of other insects. Insects that farmers and gardeners alike consider as pests.

This fact alone sheds a little light on whether crows are good or bad for the garden.

Moreover, crows are known to help with transporting seeds and storing them as well. In doing so, they can help with renewing forests.

Damage Caused by Crows

Even if these birds may seem quite helpful to your gardening in a way, you may still want to learn how to keep crows away from garden plants. This is because despite all of the benefits they may offer, they still may cause some damage to your plants.

For example – if you have seedlings that are being pulled up from the ground, crows may be the culprit. Corn crops and any other fruiting plants are especially in danger from these birds, since they will eat fruits and seeds. However, corn is the crop that crows love the most – so if you plan on planting corn…be ready to have a scarecrow too.

On top of that, if you have a family of birds that live in your garden or if you have various small animals you welcome in your back or front yard, crows may pose a danger to them. You don’t want crows around if there are little chicks in nests or little bunnies around. Crows will typically kill the young of other small animals and birds.

Another thing that you may find quite annoying about these birds is the sound that they make. The cawing can get irritating after some time – not the type of sweet bird songs you would want to hear from your garden!

How to Keep Crows Away from Garden

We’ve basically spoken about crows at great length at this point. You now know everything there is to know about these intelligent birds. Despite how much of a pest they may seem like, they still do play a part in the ecosystem, and have their own place in the world. Perhaps, however, you would like to make sure that they don’t make your backyard your home.

So now without further ado we are here to provide you with many different tips that will help you with how to keep crows away from garden plants!

Tip #1: Keep Your Yard and Garden Clean

From our research and the information we have listed above, we have found that crows love to feed from the ground. They love picking up seeds, fruits, nuts, and even carrion. Because of this, one good way to make sure that you keep crows out of your garden is by making sure to keep it unattractive to them. Don’t leave any bits of garbage or food lying around for them to scavenge. Put lids on garbage cans. Make sure to clean the yard regularly, sweeping up seeds and fallen fruit. Be sure that if any small animal dies, you get rid of the corpse so the crows won’t be attracted by it.

Doing this might seem like a bit of a hassle, but it can help significantly in keeping your back yard less attractive to these birds. With little to find in terms of food, crows will become less likely to invade your space.

Tip #2: Hoo Hoo Hoo

Another thing that you can do in order to keep crows out of your garden is to put a plastic owl somewhere. You can put it on a tree branch of some sort, or even just on a fence. It may work for a while, but because crows are quite smart, they may wisen up and figure out it’s a fake soon enough. But for a temporary fix, this could be it!

Tip #3 Scare Crows…Scarecrow

how to keep crows away from garden

Get it?

All joking aside, scarecrows exist for a reason, and they’ve been around for ages and ages. These things work, so if you really want to keep crows away and you don’t mind a scarecrow in your garden, this is a great solution.

Nail two boards together into a T, then simply drape some old clothes or rags over it so that the fabric will flap in the wind and deter the birds.

Tip #4 Noise!

Crows hate certain sounds, such as clanging and crashing. Therefore, you can put together a makeshift wind chime made with bells, aluminum plates, and various things that will make loud, unpleasant noises when they smack together. Unfortunately, this is not quite an ideal method since this noise will bother you as well. Also, we can definitely say that your neighbors, if you have any, will very likely not appreciate you having these makeshift wind chimes around. But hey, it does work!

Another effective method for how to keep crows away from garden plants is by playing sounds that may deter them. You can play audio files of predators, something that scares them away. Of course, you still might not want to do this because hey, who wants to blast these type of sounds for their neighbors to hear, right?

Tip #5 Shine Bright Like a Diamond

Unlike magpies, crows actually dislike shiny things. So if you want to keep the crows away, one way in which you can do that is by hanging up shiny things around your garden. You can string up old CDs as a way to recycle them, then hang that up to ward these birds away. Another thing you can do is use glass décor, or even mirrors, since these also reflect light. You can also use marbles or shiny pebbles for your garden’s landscaping, if you so please.

Please Be Kind to The Birds

Regardless of the fact that these birds can be quite a pest at times, going through your trash and pulling up your plants, please still do treat them humanely. Some people may like shooting the birds. Others may resort to airsoft guns or pellet guns. If you plan on using these methods to get rid of the birds, please reconsider and use one of the above methods instead!

Most noteworthy is the fact that in some US states, crows are protected species. Because of this, it may be illegal to kill crows except in certain areas and in certain times of the year. Please do try to make yourself aware of the law in your area so you can avoid trouble.


We hope that we’ve given you plenty of information that will not only help you to get to know crows better, but to also understand what kind of a bird they are. Hopefully our guide for how to keep crows away from garden plants will help you to keep your plants safe and sound, as well! And again, we humbly ask that you do not harm the crows as you ward them away – after all there are many humane ways to do it!