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This big lady sure knows what to do with all those backyard crows

By Gary Bogue
Wednesday, February 25th, 2009 at 6:28 am in Cooper's hawk, Crows, Hawks.

Female Cooper’s hawk eating a crow. Photo by Bob Luis, Brentwood, Calif.
coop crow

I’ve been getting a lot of mail about crows in my column these days. Backyards are full of those big, black noisy birds. Most frequently asked question is, “What are we going to do with all these crows?”

Bob Luis of Brentwood, California, dropped me a note the other day, containing the above photo. Here’s what he had to say:

Dear Gary:
This guy might have a solution on what to do with all these crows. He was perched on our back fence feasting on this carcass. When he finally took off with his meal, it looked like it had the tail feathers of a crow.
Bob Luis, Brentwood, Calif.

Dear Bob:
This is a female Cooper’s hawk and those definitely look like crow tail feathers to me. Cooper’s hawks are big bird hunters and yes, as you see, they do occasionally prey on crows. /Gary

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5 Responses to “This big lady sure knows what to do with all those backyard crows”

  1. Joanne Oertwig Says:

    I don’t usually do this. However, I think I recently read in yor colomn about a person reporting they saw a crow/raven agressively jumping over bigger birds.

    I looked out my window last night and two malards had come up from the pond and were in my yard. The nasty and annoying crow that lives in the tree outside my window was jmping over them and would not stop until they moved to a different part of the yard (maybe 5 feet away). They (the malards) then settled down for the night. The crow appeared to began to eat where the ducks were when I first saw the action take place.

    I see the crows interact with the grown jack rabbits in the same way. The rabbits and the ducks are at least two times bigger then the crows.

    I wish I could get rid of the crow family.. They kill and eat the baby rabbits and leave there bones on my mail box and the baby quails are fewer and fewer every year. Those they eat on my outdoor BBQ.

  2. Collin Park Says:

    Dear Gary,

    We lived in Tokyo for a couple of years in the ’90s, and came to truly detest crows. One of them terrorized my young daughter (probably to get something shiny in her hair) right next to the Shibuya station. I mean it dived onto her head and tried to rip her hair out!

    We had never seen crows before, and when we returned to California in 1999, we were quite unhappy to find crows had invaded the San Francisco peninsula.

    In some Tokyo parks, you can’t have a picnic because of these menacing birds, and crows routinely pick open plastic trash bags. That’s our future unless something can be done about these nasty birds.

    What can be done about crows? Every year I see more of them on the Peninsula. They are not native to our area, but probably came because of human activity, and I believe that some human activity to get rid of them may be in order. Other living things (the baby quails and rabbits Joanne Oertwig mentioned for example) would also be happy to see the crow population decline.

    I’m not about to buy a rifle (I’d probably get arrested), but there aren’t laws protecting crows, are they? Are there crow-specific toxins?

  3. Michael O'Keefe Says:

    Dear Gary,

    I have been wondering why you often refer to “a flock of crows”. When I was growing up, it was called “a murder of crows”. When did it change? Did I miss the memo?

    For instance, on searching the Internet, I found: “Many birds live alone, but crows live in a group called a murder.”

    Looking forward to when you get back from travel so I can read all about your adventures!

    Mike O’Keefe

  4. Daniel Says:

    Dear Mr Gary,

    I read your colums about crows annoying everyone in the day area. I have a story to share. One morning, I pulled in a parking lot at work and saw two or more crows early in the morning already quacking so loud. It dawned on me that if I keep beeping my car remote control, they would be dislike the loud sound of car horn and they would fly away. So they did. I figured that out and want to share that with you.

  5. Ellen Paisal Says:

    My backyard in Alameda seems to be losing songbirds and all smaller birds in direct proportion to an increase in the numbers of crows and ravens.
    What’s going on?

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