University of Maryland Extension


Back to vegetable wildlife problems
Photo: Terry L Spivey

Crows are large, 17 to 21 inches long, intelligent, black birds that are equally at home in the country or the city. They thrive best where there are trees for nesting and roosting. They are omnivorous, feeding on insects, dead fish, frogs, snakes, eggs, young birds, carrion, corn, fruits, and vegetables. Crows mate in spring and construct large nests made of twigs, grass, and feathers in tall trees. The average clutch is 4 to 6 eggs. Usually, there is one brood per year. They live 4 to 6 years in the wild but can live to over 20 years in captivity.

Crows are more destructive to farm crops than they are to homeowner gardens. In the home garden, crows may damage seedling corn plants by pulling the sprouts and eating the kernels. They can also damage ripening corn, melons and various fruits. They may also raid bird feeders. Scare tactics are effective in dispersing crows from roosts and some crops. Frightening devices include loud sounds, bright lights, and scare crows. Protect special value crops with bird netting. Protect ripening ears of corn by placing a paper sack over each ear after the silk has turned brown. 

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