If you’ve noticed more crows showing up around your house lately, you’re not alone. Crows are highly intelligent and opportunistic birds that tend to thrive in urban and suburban areas alongside humans.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: Crows are attracted to houses because they provide good nesting spots, abundant food sources from trash and pet food, and fewer natural predators compared to rural areas.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore why crows seem to love suburbia so much, what exactly they’re doing around your house, and helpful tips for deterring problem crows humanely.

Why Crows Are Drawn to Houses

Ideal Nesting Spots

Crows are very intelligent birds that excel at adapting to urban environments. They are drawn to the shelter and seclusion that houses provide for nesting spots. Many homes have tall trees, chimneys, and gabled roofs that mimic the cliffsides and tree canopy that crows nest in naturally (Audubon Society).

These structures are appealing as they keep eggs and fledgling crows safe from predators.

In addition, the warmth radiating from homes helps incubate eggs and shelter chicks. A 2022 study found that over 75% of urban crow nests were within 100 feet of a building as they provide heat and protection (Wiley Online Library).

Crows may also nest near homes to be closer to reliable food sources from trash bins and bird feeders.

Reliable Food Sources

Crows thrive near houses as they provide easy access to food waste. They have excellent memory and recognize which trash bins contain the most scraps. Once they discover a bountiful location, crows remember and return frequently.

Bird-loving homeowners also intentionally provide food by routinely filling bird feeders. This supplemental feeding offers crows a consistent food supply to nourish both adults and young.

In winter months when natural food is scarce, crows congregate near houses for discarded food and well-stocked feeders. A 2022 study by the American Ornithological Society revealed that crows spent over 40% more time foraging near residences during cold temperatures to find calorie-rich nourishment.

Safer Environment

The structures and activity near homes offer crows protection from predators and dangers. Houses obstruct natural predators like hawks from stealthily ambushing nests. Crows also mob predators they spot near neighborhoods as a collective defense. Constant human activity further deters predators.

One study showed crows nesting success was 14% higher near occupied houses.

Additionally, hazards from cars and pedestrians are reduced next to private property. Fledgling crows just learning to fly have a better chance of surviving when shielded from busy streets. The safety near houses allows crows to raise more offspring successfully so populations flourish around residential areas.

What Crows Do Around Houses

Scavenge Through Garbage

Crows are resourceful birds that have adapted well to living near humans. One of the main things they do around houses is scavenge through garbage for food scraps. Crows have sharp beaks that can tear open plastic bags and rip through other containers with ease.

Once they discover a good source of food waste, crows may routinely check trash bins and cans for their next meal.According to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, up to 40 percent of a crow’s diet can come from human garbage.

Steal Pet Food

Outdoor pet food bowls are another attractant for hungry crows loitering around homes. Crows will swoop down and grab mouthfuls of dog or cat kibble if given the chance. They are crafty enough to watch for opportunities when pets are away from their dishes.

Some crows may even get bold enough to steal food straight from the bowl as an unwilling pet looks on helplessly.

Nest in Trees and On Roofs

Crows frequently nest and roost on or near houses due to the shelter and abundant food sources. They prefer tall trees next to buildings as lookout posts where they can watch for threats. Crows also nest high up on chimneys, roof tiles, and other structures on houses.

Inside cities, some crows may even nest on window ledges or fire escapes if they can find a suitable nook. The presence of nests and roosts means the crows feel safe and have a reliable food source nearby.

Harass Other Birds

Crows are aggressive birds that will chase away other animals in order to protect their territory. They mob and harass hawks, owls, and other potential predators that get too close. Crows may also harass smaller songbirds that compete with them for food and nesting sites in yards.

The frequent, loud cawing you hear from crows around your home is often a result of them banding together to drive intruders away. So in a sense, the crows are alerting each other to dangers and working cooperatively to protect resources.

Humane Ways to Deter Problem Crows

Secure Trash in Closed Cans

Crows are clever birds that love to scavenge for food scraps. They quickly learn garbage day schedules and will flock to overturned trash bins in search of their next meal. The best way to discourage dumpster diving crows is to use trash cans with tight-fitting lids.

Sturdy metal or plastic bins with latches will prevent crows from accessing the garbage inside. For extra security, weigh down trash can lids with bricks or bungee cords to prevent the birds from opening them.

When taking out the trash, be sure to keep bags closed until tossing them in the bin. Avoid spills and immediately clean up any trash scattered on the ground. Storing trash cans in garages or shed enclosures will also help deny crows access.

With food sources cut off, nuisance crows will eventually look elsewhere for their next takeout order.

Remove Outside Pet Food After Meals

Like trash, uncovered pet food bowls attract foraging crows looking for an easy snack. Crows may become so accustomed to eating cat and dog food that they stake out yards, causing a daily nuisance.

To make yards less appealing to loitering crows, avoid leaving pet food outside for prolonged periods. Feed pets inside the house or bring food dishes indoors soon after mealtimes. If pets need access to food throughout the day, use timed pet feeders that limit access to set intervals.

This will minimize the window of opportunity for crows to steal leftovers.

Install Bird Spikes and Netting

Determined crows are notorious for invading roosting areas like roof ledges, awnings, and balcony railings. Installing pointed plastic or stainless steel bird spikes in problem roosting spots can discourage landing. The spikes are harmless but make perching too uncomfortable for birds.

For a more enclosed barrier, stretch stainless steel wire or plastic netting over ledges and windows. This denies birds a sturdy place to perch or nest.

Be sure to check for active nests before installing spikes or nets during nesting season. Avoid deterrents when fledglings are present, as young may become trapped. It’s best to install devices before breeding season starts or after young have fully fledged.

This humane approach removes benefits of undesirable areas while respecting active nests.

Use Predator Decoys and Sounds

Like most birds, crows innately fear their natural predators. Placing lifelike predator decoys, such as owls or hawks, or playing predator cries can frighten gathering murder. Strategically place decoys where crows frequently gather and move them around occasionally so they don’t become accustomed.

Broadcasting alarming predator calls randomly throughout the day will also deter lingering crows.

This strategy works best when combined with other deterrents like eliminating food sources. Frightening sounds and decoys are not a standalone solution but can enhance harassment efforts. Be cautious using them near active nests or fledglings, as stress could lead to abandonment.

With patience and an integrated humane approach, problem crows can be convinced to move on and peacefully coexist at a distance.


In the end, crows are just trying to survive and even thrive around houses much like other urban-adapted wildlife. While they can cause some nuisance problems, there are many humane ways we can coexist.

With some prevention and gentle hazing techniques, crows can be deterred from becoming too problematic around your home. Understanding their behavior and motivations can help you address issues properly and maintain a healthy backyard ecosystem.

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