In a flap over crows

Crows us­ing roof-tops to crack open wal­nuts is driv­ing dog crazy.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - Pets - By JOAN MOR­RIS

DEAR Joan: I think it’s called a mur­der of crows, but maybe I just want to mur­der the crows.

Ev­ery year we get 40 or 50 crows eat­ing break­fast on our roof and it drives Chrissie, our nor­mally non-vo­cal Bi­chon Frise, crazy. The crows bring large, nut type husks the size of wal­nuts and use our roof as an anvil to break them open.

The pound­ing on the roof by so many crows sounds like we have a fam­ily of rac­coons up there, and as you can ex­pect, the crows don’t seem to get along with one an­other as they caw and chase each other non-stop, drop­ping the husks that then roll across the roof and ac­cu­mu­late in the rain gut­ters.

Poor Chrissie isn’t very happy with the knock­ing and pound­ing on the roof and nei­ther am I, as I don’t know what kind of dam­age they might be do­ing up there. If I step out­side and rap on the rain gut­ter with a long card­board tube, the crows might take flight and the sky turns black for a few mo­ments as they scat­ter, only for them to re­turn 10 min­utes later.

I’m guess­ing that the par­ents are teach­ing their young­sters how to hunt for food but do you have any ideas how I might dis­cour­age the crows from turn­ing my roof into a Denny’s Grand Slam break­fast venue? – Art May­off, Beni­cia, Cal­i­for­nia

Dear Art: Keep­ing cer­tain birds out of your yard is not an easy task, un­less maybe you build a glass dome over your house, and then I think the crows might cre­ate an­other prob­lem for you that would re­quire con­stant win­dow-wash­ing.

There are de­vices you can at­tach to the eaves and ridge lines of your house, com­mon roost­ing spots for birds, that are in­tended to keep them off. The bird spikes are just what the name im­plies – spikes that would make perch­ing very un­com­fort­able. How­ever, as the crows are do­ing more than roost­ing, they could con­tinue to use your roof as a gi­ant nutcracker.

You could hang My­lar rib­bons and sparkly disks above your roof, but crows soon fig­ure out those are noth­ing to worry about.

How about cre­at­ing a place in your yard for the crows to use? You could build a plat­form, in­stall large rocks or other hard sur­faces to sub­sti­tute for your roof. Place some bird seed and wal­nuts out to at­tract them to the spot. As crows seem to do ex­actly what we don’t want them to do, be sure to tell them they need to stay off.

Re­cently, I’ve writ­ten about the prac­tice of hang­ing a fake, stuffed crow in your yard. Put it out at night, when the crows can’t see you, and the next morn­ing, they’ll have a sort of me­mo­rial ser­vice for their fallen com­rade and then leave the area.

It sounds bizarre, but read­ers who’ve tried it tell me it works like a charm. Dear Joan: I have a wal­nut tree and the scrub-jays keep eat­ing the wal­nuts. Any ad­vice on keep­ing them away? – Dave, Santa Cruz, Calif.

Dear Dave: A great many crea­tures love those wal­nuts and it’s dif­fi­cult to keep them out of the tree. You can try net­ting, although wal­nut trees tend to be large, mak­ing net­ting dif­fi­cult to im­pos­si­ble.

You can try hang­ing re­flec­tive tape, rib­bons and disks, which won’t work for­ever but maybe long enough so you can har­vest your own crop.

You might also of­fer them an al­ter­na­tive food source, such as shelled peanuts. – The Mer­cury News/Tri­bune News Ser­vice

Crows can some­times be the bane of house pets, but they can be en­ticed to mod­ify their pesky be­hav­iour. — TNS

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