What's with all of the crows?

In San Jose, CA, we seem to be overrun with crows. In the last year or two, I’ve been noticing larger and larger groups of them. Last week on a side street near my house, there were about 100 crows on lawns, bushes, and telephone lines.

I’ve lived in my current location for 13 years and I’ve never noticed this many crows until recently.

Does anyone have any idea why we’re seeing so many crows?


Does it look like this picture from Bodega Bay?

Crows are pretty smart. Wear some recognizable clothing and they will hang out with you. Bring some nuts and start feeding them.

I don’t have an answer but have noticed the same thing. SF and Monterey Bay areas. When I was growing up in the Santa Clara Valley you had to go to the Central Valley to see crows. Now they are all over the place.

Also – wild turkeys. They are also new.

I was wondering how long it would take for a Birds reference. Message #2:slight_smile:


I’ve noticed the wild turkeys, too, but only in semi-rural areas (undeveloped hills, or neighborhoods adjacent to them). I guess I assumed they were always there and I just never saw them – recently I’ve been walking in or near the hills.


Wild turkey populations have sky-rocketed in the last couple decades. They were almost wiped out earlier in the century, which resulted in a very successful campaign to bring them back, to the point where they’ve moved into areas in the US where they were never native to begin with.

I’ve noticed (and smelled) a lot more skunks the last three years then usual, in several places around the Eastern US. My pet theory is that the recession led to towns downsizing their pest-control efforts, which has caused skunk populations to increase.

Everyone’s noticing this. I think we’ve had at least 2 or 3 threads on this subject over the last few years.

Turns out that “suburbia”, with it’s mixed wooded and open areas is perfect habitat for crows. They are very appreciative of us for hooking them up!

Wild Turkeys have recently recolonized the Bronx, where they are found on a few golf courses and parks.

Maybe the NYC coyotes will keep them down.


I didn’t realize the wild turkey campaign was so widespread. We’ve successfully reintroduced them in Ontario over the last couple of decades, and I see them all the time now. Well, not so much in the middle of winter.

I haven’t noticed any increased crow populations though.

West Nile disease, which appeared in the US in 1999, knocked back the population of crows (and related species like jays) in many parts of the country. In some areas they have been coming back. I don’t know when West Nile hit San Jose, but perhaps some of the increase seen by the OP is due to recovery of the crow population in this area.

We had a huge increase in the crow population following a population explosion of starlings. They were raiding the nests of the starlings and eating the young. It tok about 10 years for the two populations to ballance out. West nile hit our crows here in so cal real hard last season.

I had this same thought, because in north suburban Chicago, the crows used to be thick. We could barely sleep past morning light and the damned things would descend on the area, putting up an enormous racket. Then, West Nile virus wiped them out completely. We didn’t have a crow here for four years. Then, we started seeing them and now they are back in pretty large numbers. I’d imagine people who moved here in the last 10-15 years would say we’re having an inordinate number of crows lately. I’d say we’re just getting back to where we were. Maybe you, too?

During my lunchtime walk in north San Jose, I’ve noticed that crows are doing really well around all the new construction sites. They can make a pretty easy living scavenging off the lunch litter of the construction crews.

I’m actually quite surprised that West Nile wiped out populations of crows. Here in Ontario we were asked to report dead crows to what ever ministry, I don’t recall, but I’m sure the numbers added up to like a crow or two per month per municipality kind of thing. Wow.

In the East Bay where I live the bird population has definitely changed over the last several years. Crows used to be rare - now they’re common. I never saw a wild turkey around here until a few years ago, when they began parading down the streets of my city. Mockingbirds are also new - I saw my first one locally a couple of years ago. On other other hand, I rarely see robins any more. Even pigeons seem not to be as common as they once were (not that I miss them).

Does brachyrynchos still post here? Calling Dr. Crow!

That’s what I get for posting late at night. I meant to say that woodpeckers are also new to my area, not mockingbirds.

Back at my old house in North Minneapolis (1991-2002), the local murder of crows would frequently descend on the big oak tree in the back yard two houses down just before sunrise. And raise one helluva racket. By God, I wanted to go out there with a shotgun. But I kinda expected that wouldn’t end well for me.