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Old 02-15-2017, 04:31 PM
tfabris tfabris is offline
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Seattle, WA
Posts: 14
You don't need to put up a special feeder for them. A bowl will do.

We put out a small bowl of dog kibble for them. Small kibble intended for puppies seems to be preferred by the crows. They love the kibble, and after a while they even git picky about which kibble pieces they prefer. We place the bowl of kibble on a lawn-furniture plastic table on the back porch, right outside the breakfast nook window. That way, we can watch them up close if we want. They are skittish at first, but eventually are OK with us walking up fairly close to the window to watch them.

Don't forget to also put out a clean bowl of water too. Crows need water as much as food, and you'll often see them dunking their food in the water dish, which is adorable.

Research done at the university here in Seattle has shown that they recognize faces, and even teach their kids which are the good humans and which are the bad ones. After you feed them enough, they'll start to recognize you and trust you more. We've found this to be true in our experience. My girlfriend brings a small baggie of kibble on her walk to work in the morning, and they'll follow her and play with her. She's even written a song about it. Lyrics: Video:

We only get a few crows at a time at the dish. We don't try to do a large scale feeding operation, just a little kibble in a small bowl during the day. They land on the porch's handrail, taxi in to the table, hop down, eat a bit, then take a few extra pieces to go cache somewhere (several pieces stacked up carefully in their beak in a straight line). It's very cute to watch them caching food. For instance, they'll put the food in the grass, pick up a leaf, place the leaf atop the cached food, then give the leaf a little "pat pat pat" with their beak, seeming to say "no one will find it here!". They'll also cache in the rain gutters of our house or nearby houses.

Do this long enough, and you'll start to recognize the juvenile crows from the adult crows when they come around in the spring. Juveniles are skinnier and scrawnier, and they have a different voice: Juveniles sound like a crow with a kazoo. In particular, it's funny to watch the juveniles follow the parents around and beg to be fed. By the time the juveniles get to this point where they're out of the nest and following the parents around, you can tell the parents are sick and tired of feeding them, and they're trying to show them "look, the food is right there, just take it".

The only problem with feeding the crows is when the same food attracts other animals you don't want. We're OK with other birds or squirrels. Seagulls come too, which are a slight problem since they bully the crows, but the seagulls are not as much of a problem as the raccoons. At first the raccoons were cute, but then they got aggressive and started trying to claw their way in into the back door, and pooping on the back porch. Our best defense seems to be: Don't put out too much food. Make sure that the crows and other birds clean their plate by the time the sun sets. Then the raccoons never have anything to eat, so they stop coming around as much.