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How To Befriend Crows

How To Befriend Crows

We’ve all probably seen videos on Facebook and YouTube about how someone has befriended a crow that is now a mischievous and affectionate companion to that person.

Being a bird lover, you might also want one as your friend.

So how to do that? In short, the answer is to offer food, build trust, and have patience.

Read on to learn how to attract and form a bond with these clever creatures.


How to Befriend Crows?

In the United States, crows are protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, which means that you can’t capture one and keep them as a pet.

However, you can teach them that your garden is a safe place to visit and that you’re not a danger.


1. Create a Quiet and Safe Environment

Even though crows live in suburban and urban environments with humans and have been known to co-exist with us from the dawn of time, they are still wild and cautious creatures. American Crows are the most common crow in North America.

Related: How to attract crows?

They prefer quiet and open environments that they know are safe, so they feel comfortable while visiting.

To make your backyard more appealing to crows, make it cluster-free and move any noisemakers somewhere they won’t be able to startle the birds. If you have any pets, keep them away from the area you want to attract the birds to. Crows also like to hide in trees and bushes, so if you can plant some or already have some, then it’s great!


2. Offer Food and Water

The way to earn any wild animal’s trust is by feeding them.

Crows are opportunistic omnivores, and they eat almost anything from insects and berries to pet food, roadkill, and vegetables.

However, much like humans, they have their own preferences and dislikes, so it is useful to find out what that particular crow (or crows) likes.

To attract a crow to your yard, you can put out something shiny and eye-catching next to the food. The food should be healthy and at the beginning, you should put out a variety of samples to learn what they prefer.

Related: What do crows like to eat?

Crows also need water and it would make your yard more enticing if it had a bird bath, since offers a place to drink, take a bath, or even soften or wash food. Keep in mind that crows are quite large, so you would need a deeper bowl and a thicker ledge.

American Crow on a water fountain

Photograph © Tom Grey


3. Establish a Routine

Crows (and groups of crows) are incredibly intelligent, recognize patterns and faces, and they have a good memory. Establishing a routine and being reliable is needed if you want to gain their trust.

Start leaving food for them at the same time every day so that eventually they start thinking of your yard as a place where they can certainly get food from. You can also notify them with a specific sound, like a whistle or a call, so they know when to come and associate you with food as well.

Once you notice them showing up regularly, you can start showing yourself. Be very careful and behave predictably and calmly so that you don’t startle them and scare them away. They should eventually start associating you with the environment and food.

Learn more: Can crows talk?


4. Patience Is Key

Earning their trust takes time from months to even years. You can start moving closer and closer to them in little increments, but don’t be hasty or you may accidentally scare them away. Keep your distance and respectfully give them space while they’re eating.

Keep in mind that crows are wild animals with a personality and will of their own.

If you know how to befriend crows, and want to do that, then it’s all about trust. If they really trust you, they might even start accepting food from your hand. You can start tossing them food, bringing them closer to you, until they trust you enough to snatch it out of your hand. But again, patience is needed for this, and you have to remain very calm and predictable.


What Do Crows Like To Eat?

Crows are opportunistic omnivores, eating just about anything they can. In the wild, they will feast on anything from fruit, vegetables, and berries to insects, roadkill, hatchlings, and eggs. In urban environments, they can search for food amongst trash and may even eat vomit if they’re really hungry.

However, you should offer them healthy foods, and since you want to gain their trust, find out what that specific crow prefers. You can offer them dry or wet cat or dog food, unsalted peanuts, boiled eggs, scraps from your kitchen, fruits, vegetables, and meat.

Pair of American Crows

Photograph © Tom Grey


Should You Befriend Crows?

We already know that it is possible to befriend a crow, but should we? As we already know, it is illegal to keep one as a pet but in addition to the legal ramifications, there are also moral ones.

Constantly and regularly feeding a crow might make them dependent on you for food, which will hinder its ability to survive on its own. Should you move, the crow will still check up on that place and might become a nuisance to the new owners, which might even become dangerous for the crow itself.

Think hard about what kind of relationship you want to have with a crow and what kind of consequences it might bring for the bird and yourself.

Have you befriended a crow? Let us know your thoughts below in the comments.

About the Author

Heleen Roos

Heleen has loved the outdoors and nature since childhood and has always been fascinated with birds, leading her to research more about them. She has accumulated a lot of knowledge about their behaviors and habits through birdwatching tours and her own explorations. Her goal is to share the most interesting and useful facts about them.

Let others know your thoughts or ask an expert


Tuesday 19th of December 2023

I have befriended a whole murder. When I go walk a couple dogs in a neighborhood I sprinkle some bird seed or crumbled dog treats through some green belt areas. They've come to recognize me and my car, even the houses the dogs live in and they wait for me on the telephone wires and follow me around the neighborhood as I walk the dogs. They've come so close flying, I've felt the wind from their wings on my cheek.

Patrick O'Donnell

Tuesday 26th of December 2023

@Jessica- Thanks for telling us about that special experience! Crows are so smart!


Wednesday 27th of September 2023

Hi, I have befriended a crow with two broken legs. It started six months ago. I never thought she would survive. She likes dog/cat food and sunflower seeds. I see her three times a week at my golf club , it’s the best thing I do ,we are getting closer and closer, she’s real smart and follows me around the course, but I only ever Feed her after I finish the 10th hole ,no matter how bad I am at golf she always brings me happiness , she has a son and always calls for him when she’s feeding so she can share , her name is Hop x


Patrick O'Donnell

Thursday 28th of September 2023

@Clay- Thanks for sharing your story! It's amazing how we can make long-lasting connections with birds.

Beverly Rabidoux

Monday 18th of September 2023

I've been feeding two crows by my barn all good stuff I just sit there and hang out But now there's two more and they're fighting And they're coming to my house pecking on the skylights one is I did give them eggs yesterday should I quit or cut down

Patrick O'Donnell

Monday 18th of September 2023

@Beverly- Since crows are pretty smart, if you keep feeding them, more will probably show up. To keep them from pecking your skylight, yes, it's probably a good idea to cut back on feeding them.

Dave Jacobs

Wednesday 6th of September 2023

When I was 14 I was up in the woods behind our house and upon a crow sitting on a stump. He didn't move when I approached. I found he was probably in a tree when they were thining out the woods for lumber.I brought him down to the house and found his wing was hurt. I nursed his wound and he recovered! He was the best! I had him go outside but he would still drop in for food and take my mom's jewelry and hide it behind the couch! Good times!

Patrick O'Donnell

Thursday 7th of September 2023

@Dave- Thanks for sharing your story. How cool to make a connection like that with a crow! They sure are intelligent birds.

Brian Brase

Sunday 13th of August 2023

I have been feeding crows for several months. They know when and where I am and caw when they can see me.I will toss peanuts out,and move a hundred feet away,and they will come and eat. I have a following of about ten. I love it.

Patrick O'Donnell

Monday 14th of August 2023

@Brian- Thanks for sharing that and please keep us updated if they come closer and do other things! Crows are so smart, they can even learn to "talk" or at least mimic words. Maybe you can teach them a word or two? We wrote something about that-

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