A group of hens is a clutch, a flock of geese is a gaggle, but a flock of crows is a murder. Crows have a reputation of fearsome and evil pests, but they are fascinating birds that are intelligent enough to recognize people’s faces. If you are a Corvid lover with a balcony, you want to know how to attract them.
To attract crows to your balcony, you need to think like a crow. Provide food and water, give them a place to hang out, and make them feel safe and at home.
Crows are members of the Corvid family—considered one of the smartest bird families. Because crows mate for life, once they arrive, they will return year after year. Read on and use these tips to create a balcony that will attract them.
Have a Roosting Area
Crows want a place to hang out. To attract crows to a yard, you need to have a roosting place—crows like horizontal places such as fences and tree branches. If a yard doesn’t have those, then crow experts recommend adding a birdbath or building an artificial nesting place. If your balcony has a railing, then you have a roosting area. And if not, maybe it’s time to have a railing put on.
Provide Water for the Crows
Since your balcony’s railing provides a roosting area, you might think you do not need a birdbath. If you want to attract crows to your balcony, they need some water. Consider putting a birdbath on your balcony. Avoid traditional heavy birdbaths made of terracotta or concrete. Instead, buy a lightweight one or make yourself using a large, shallow bowl secured to a pedestal.
Also, moving water attracts birds and cuts down on insects like mosquitoes that prefer standing water. The Vivohome Bird Bath and Solar Powered Fountain Combo is a lightweight birdbath that is easy to assemble.
If your balcony is crowded, consider using a birdbath attached to the railing. It will provide birds with a better sense of security since they will be better able to watch for predators. The Urban Deco Deck Mount Bird Bath is on the small side, but two side-by-side should be enough room.
Put Food on Your Balcony to Feed Crows
A drink of water might get crows to drop in. To get them to stay, you need to provide them with food. Crows are omnivores and will eat just about anything, including garbage and carrion.
Instead of feeding them either of those, start with peanuts. Start by putting some on the railing.
This will give them a feeling of safety. Crows are skittish birds, so do not expect them to land immediately and begin feeding. Instead, they might watch to see if other birds are eating. If you get some jays for a few days, be patient. The crows are cautious and smart.
Other suggestions for food include:
- Kibbled dog food
- Boiled eggs
- Other foods high in protein and fats
Establish a Feeding Routine
Once the crows have taken a meal or two, it’s time to move on to the next step. Establish a routine. Even though crows have a voracious appetite, you don’t want them flying away with food and hiding it in a cache. Instead, put out enough to keep them wanting more.
Since the goal is to create a pattern, the time you put the food on the balcony is less important than that you do it at the same time every day. The crows should know when to expect the food. Creating a rhythm is vital to building a connection with the birds.
Have a Decoy Bird
If food is not working, consider hanging a decoy bird. As we pointed out, crows will hang out to see if the area is safe. You need decoys, and they need to be displayed correctly. This Crow Decoy is designed for hunting, making it appear realistic. Be careful not to buy a bird that looks like a Raven. Crows will not be fooled.
Use Bird Calls
You can purchase a crow caller, such as the Faulk’s Game Crow Calls. This is another product used by hunters, and they learn the difference between a distress call and an attention call, both of which will attract crows.
Using your hands to make crow calls requires practice, but you will have a wider variety of calls to use. The Cornell Lab of Ornithology has several crow calls on their website.
You can find videos on YouTube, such as Crow Calling Basics by PoeMovies:
Remove Objects That Scare Them Away
Crows are easily spooked. Sudden noises such as wind chimes will keep them away. The good news—once they get used to your balcony, the wind chimes will not bother them as much. Reflective surfaces that can create flashes of light are something else to remove or cover with plants.
Create a Habitat
Along with a birdbath or other water source, add plants and maybe a small shrub or potted tree to provide a habitat. Plants will make them more comfortable, plus they make your balcony look nicer.
Provide Nesting Material
Although crows prefer making their nests in the crotch of a tree, why don’t you try putting out materials to make a nest? They use twigs, pine needles, animal hair, and soft bark, among other things.
Put out materials for a nest. Wouldn’t it be fabulous if you looked on the balcony one day and saw eggs in a nest? Check out these pictures of an American Crow Nest to give you an idea of materials to place out.
Consider purchasing anti-collision stickers so that when crows fly to your balcony. The installation of these stickers helps prevent two dangers that windows pose.
- Transparency. Birds sometimes fly against the glass because they want what’s on the other side of the glass.
- Reflection. Crows can be confused by the reflections of the sky or trees on the glass.
These Anti-Collision Window Alert Bird Stickers go on the inside and are easily applied with self-adhesive backing.
Cleaning Up Your Balcony
Now that they are coming to your balcony, you get the pleasure of watching them. Cleaning up behind them is not going to be a pleasure, however. You still need to do so to avoid staining the balcony and any furniture you have on it. Bird feces also contain pathogens that can affect your health.
If you want to go the easy route, you can purchase a commercial spray for this purpose:
- Poop-Off Bird Poop Remover Sprayer contains an enzyme designed to clean off all poop droppings, regardless of the bird’s diet. Note: if you clean infrequently, you will have to let it sit before wiping clean.
- Simple Green Outdoor Odor Eliminator contains enzymes that eliminate the source of the odor. It is non-toxic and safe to use concrete, brick, and wood. If you don’t want a hose sprayer, you can buy a gallon of their Outdoor Odor Eliminator.
If you want to use household cleaners instead, use the following combinations:
- Concrete and All-Purpose. Use a water and dishwashing detergent (like Dawn) mixture, and presoak heavy stains with a baking soda paste.
- Wood. If you prefer not using detergent on wood, make a 50-50 vinegar-water mixture, then spray that on crusted areas. Let it sit for 15-30 minutes, rinse with club soda, and sprinkle baking soda on stained areas. Scrub with a little water to make a paste and wait 15-30 minutes and rinse off the baking soda.
- Metal. Mix a tablespoon of laundry detergent in 2 cups of water. Scrub on and let sit for 10-15 minutes. If you do not have a power wash or hose for your balcony, you will need more elbow grease to clean it.
Warning: Do not use bleach. It is toxic to crows and other birds.
Once the crows have made your balcony their home, they will come to recognize you. You can test this by having someone they haven’t seen come over to the balcony. Most likely, the crows will fly away.
Also, you don’t need to worry that crows will overrun your balcony. They are territorial. You will likely have a family—the mated pair plus their kids. So what are you waiting for? The sooner you attract them to your balcony, the sooner you will be bonded with your crows.