Once we were on a road trip with our friends. Suddenly, we spotted some roadkills (maybe, they were a couple of mice) beside the highway where a murder of crows already gathered to swoop down. We left them back as we drove right away.
After a while, this incident made us wonder, what do crows eat? Crows, in general, eat almost anything, including seeds, nuts, grains, fruits, berries, vegetables, small mammals, and dead fish. They are well-known to feast on insects, garbage, kitchen leftovers, carrion, and roadkills (more than 35% of their diet). Also, they steal eggs from chicken, duck, and other bird nests.
If you want to know how to attract crows to your yard using some easy techniques, you can read our article by clicking here.
In this article, we’re going to share with you what crows eat, what baby crows need to feed on, and how to feed them in your yard. Before feeding wild crows, you should learn the right way of feeding and check the laws in your country regarding feeding crows.
So, without further ado, let’s begin!
Crows’ Common Diet
There are a huge variety of foods out there that crows eat. In our opinion, there might be nothing that crows don’t eat. Let’s see some of the best crow foods and why they are preferred to crows in the following.
Crows can eat various seeds, such as black oil sunflower seeds, and pumpkin seeds. However, they are willing to consume these seeds when meat scraps and kitchen leftovers are not available. To feed them these seeds, just scatter them throughout your yard.
If you want to feed crows sunflower seeds, we would like to suggest you purchase the Meadow Ridge Farms Black Oil Sunflower Bird Seed from Amazon. It includes 100% black oil sunflower seeds. So, you won’t need to worry about the quality of the product.
Like other birds, crows enjoy eating various nuts, like peanuts, walnuts, hazelnuts, almonds, pecans, and more. You can also offer them shelled or unshelled peanuts. However, they eat peanuts without salt and sugar.
If you want to offer crows a variety of peanuts, we would recommend you buy the PLANTERS Unsalted Premium Nuts from Amazon. This item includes cashews, almonds, hazelnuts, pecans, and pistachios without using any artificial color and flavor.
Almost all crow species eat various fruits, such as apples, bananas, oranges, grapes, raisins, etc. They also feed on many wild fruits, including dogwood, wild grapes, wild cherries, poison-oak, figs, and more. However, they don’t find fruits delicious compared to other foods.
If you want to feed crows various fruits, buy some fruits from your local fruit shops. Instead, you can offer them dry fruits. The Power Up Trail Mix from Amazon is highly recommended. This fruit package includes more than 10 types of fruits, sugar, and oil.
Related blog: Crows Vs Ravens: What’s The Difference? [Read more]
Like fruits, berries are one of the favorite treats for crows. Crows love to eat a variety of wild berries, including pokeberries, juniper berries, cranberries, blueberries, bayberries, etc. They particularly consume berries when their regular food sources are not abundant.
Are you willing to feed crows various types of berries? Buy some from the market, or order Organic Mixed Berries from Amazon. This delicious food item includes dried blueberries, tart cherries, and cranberries. It’s also unsulfured and lightly sweetened, which is ideal for crows.
Apart from fruits and berries, crows eat vegetables. The veggies include pumpkin, beans, peas, peppers, potatoes, and many kitchen vegetables. However, if your crows become accustomed to eating meat every day, switching them to vegetables could be quite difficult.
If you’re willing to feed crows a small number of vegetables, scatter some beans and peas in your yard. However, you can check the Mother Earth Products Freeze Dried Peas on Amazon. You can feed crows these dried peas or eat yourself while you’re camping.
As crows eat bird seeds, they feed on various grains, like corn, rice, wheat, barley, millet, oats, buckwheat, sorghums, and more. When these blackbirds don’t find anything dead or small mammals, they depend on grains.
You can feed your black-feathered friends some grains from your kitchen. If you don’t have any, don’t worry. We would like to suggest you purchase Quaker Old Fashioned Rolled Oats from Amazon. You can also buy Kaytee Cracked Corn from Amazon for your backyard visitors.
Unlike other birds, crows enjoy feeding on chicken and duck eggs. They observe and steal eggs from chicken and duck nests when they’re not present there. If you want to feed crows chicken or duck eggs, put some small-sized eggs for them in your yard.
However, for crows, there is a very special treat: hard-boiled eggs. Instead of providing them with normal eggs, you can feed them eggs peeled and cut into small pieces so that hungry crows can eat them quite comfortably.
The diet chart for crows includes plenty of insects, such as crickets, grasshoppers, beetles, locusts, snails, spiders, mealworms, earthworms, caterpillars, grubs, and many more. By eating these insects, these blackbirds keep our ecosystem stable.
You may not find buying some mealworms or crickets useful for crows. However, they can actually eat these insects in your yard. That’s why we would like to recommend you buy Kaytee Dried Mealworms from Amazon. These treats could also be ideal for other songbirds.
Crows feed on many junk food items, including pasta, popcorn, chips, crackers, scallops, etc. You can also offer crows some cookies in case of emergency. However, these blackbirds don’t love salted junk food. So, make sure to provide them unsalted ones.
If you want to feed crows some junk food but don’t have any in your kitchen, don’t worry. You can buy some from a local supermarket or online from Amazon. We recommend you order Arrowhead Mills Organic Yellow Popcorn and Kettle Unsalted Potato Chips from Amazon.
#Meat & Fat
You may already know that crows are omnivorous scavengers. These blackbirds mainly feed on discarded meat and fat, especially from chickens and ducks. Besides, you can offer them raw suet from butcher shops in your locality.
Don’t provide them processed meat, like sausage or ham, and salted meat and cheese. Instead make sure to cut unsalted meat and fat into small pieces, if possible the same as peanuts and bird seeds. For suet, C & S Products Peanut Delight from Amazon is recommended.
Many people don’t know that crows can eat cat/dog food. If you want to feed crows some cat/dog food, either wet or dry, make sure to soak the food in water before serving your winged friends. This is because they could choke on dry cat/dog food.
In this regard, we don’t want to recommend you any cat/dog food because many cat foods include tons of sugar. So, make sure to feed your crows a really good one. By the way, you can check Iams Proactive Health Adult Dry Cat Food out on Amazon.
Crows sometimes eat many forage-able marine treats, including clams, sea urchins, crustaceans, etc. They consume dead trout as well. Oftentimes, these black-feathered birds steal fish from eagles and ospreys.
Surprisingly, crows eat many man-made foods, like bread. If you feed crows some bread, make sure to soak it in water before serving so that they can easily gobble it up. You can also keep a bowl of water nearby so crows themselves soak the bread.
Crows are quite good at finding food underground. They may find both live and dead foods. While foraging the soil, they can usually grab worms, buried seeds, and kitchen leftovers. Even they can find bird eggs and carrion.
Crows are not well-known for killing adult birds or mammals. Instead, you will find crows hunting for smaller animals, like frogs, salamanders, young birds, reptiles, lizards, small snakes, mice, opossums, shrews, and skunks for their feast.
Although crows are not as omnivorous as hawks and owls, they mainly feast on roadkills and dead animals (this is only 5% of their diet). They keep our environment clean by eating dead or killed mice, lizards, reptiles, frogs, salamanders, and even young birds.
Like many animals, crows need a lot of water to drink while eating food, especially on warm days. You may have seen a crow drinking water in a shallow birdbath. If you appreciate crows coming to your yard, supply fresh drinking water. Crows will bathe in the water as well.
What Do Crows Eat in the Wild? (Natural Foods for Crows)
According to biologists, there are more than 40 crow species, including rooks, jackdaws, and ravens, out there in today’s world. Their diet may change depending on their species. In order to understand what they eat in the wild, it’s best to look at a few species in particular.
|Name of Crows||Scientific Name||Common Diet|
|American Crow||Corvus Brachyrhynchos||Eggs, insects, worms, nuts, fruits, grains, mice, frogs, young rabbits, and other birds’ nestlings.|
|Pied Crow||Corvus Albus||Unsalted peanuts, seeds, fruits, eggs, carrion, lizards, young birds, mollusks, and kitchen leftovers.|
|Northwestern Crow||Corvus Brachyrhynchos Caurinus||Insects, nuts, seeds, berries, crabs, dead fishes, eggs, shellfish, carrion, and garbage.|
|Cape Crow||Corvus Capensis||Fruits, seeds, nuts, dung-beetles, young birds, and small amphibians.|
|Fish Crow||Corvus Ossifragus||Fish, shrimp, turtle eggs, crayfish, insects, crabs, carrion, and garbage.|
|Hooded Crow||Corvus Cornix||Carrion, insects, meat, fat, grain, other bird eggs, chicks, kitchen leftovers, and garbage.|
|Torresian Crow||Corvus Orru||Grain, fruits, insects, eggs, dead animals, roadkills, and other invertebrates.|
What Do American Crows Eat? American crows eat almost anything, including insects, fruits, grains, mice, eggs, frogs, carrion, mealworms, and other birds’ nestlings. They are native birds in the United States and Canada, found in urban, suburban, and agricultural areas.
The insects American crows eat include grasshoppers, spiders, beetles, and millipedes. In small animals, they consume reptiles, amphibians, stolen eggs, and other small mammals. The fruits and vegetables they eat are apples, cherries, grapes, peas, and corn.
What Do Pied Crows Eat? Pied crows, in general, feed on seeds, fruits, nuts, young birds, eggs, carrion, tortoises, lizards, dead animals, dead fishes, and roadkills. They are quite native to Africa, found in rainforests, shrublands, grasslands, and aquatic areas.
As pied crows are omnivorous, these blackbirds feast on invertebrates like various types of insects. They can catch small birds and bats in flight. They also eat rubbish dumps, roadkills, garbage, and even plant materials, like rice, potatoes, nuts, roots, and more.
What Do Northwestern Crows Eat? Northwestern crows mainly feast on seeds, nuts, berries, insects, dead fishes, crabs, shellfishes, birds’ eggs, carrion, and garbage. They are native to the northern Pacific coasts, found in urban areas, open woodlands, and intertidal shores.
During the summer months, these crows consume carrion, including roadkills, marine mammals, and seabirds. When winter comes, they change their food habit into fruits, berries, grains, and veggies. Many birders often feed these birds from their kitchens.
What Do Cape Crows Eat? Cape crows, also known as black crows, eat a wide variety of foods, such as insects, dung-beetles, young chicks, small amphibians, bulbs, seeds, and fruits. They are native to the United States, found in grasslands, mountain peaks, and shrublands.
Apart from that, these omnivorous birds eat flying termites, domestic small chickens, frogs, and small tortoises. Like other crow species, they love to eat kitchen leftovers, meat scraps, and garbage. Most importantly, they prefer moist cat/dog food.
What Do Fish Cows Eat? As the name suggests, fish crows eat fish, crayfish, shrimp, crabs, carrion, and dead trout. They are mainly native to the southeastern parts of the United States, found in tidewaters, river valleys, farmlands, swamps, and woodlands.
Regardless of marine treats, they can feed on seeds, nuts, fruits, berries, eggs, grains, and vegetables. Since they usually stay in water areas, they prefer moving-water birdbaths with fountains for drinking and bathing. For winter, there should be heated birdbaths.
What do hooded crows eat? Hooded crows, also called mist crows in Germany, consume small mammals, amphibians, insects, carrion, fruits, and various grains. They are mainly native to eastern European countries, found in farmlands, moorlands, and open woodlands.
Basically, hooded crows love to eat aquatic food from nearby cliffs and oceans. While having aquatic treats, they use rocks to crack the outer skeletons open. If they get the chance, they can steal puffin eggs and young chicks.
What do Torresian crows eat? Torresian crows mainly feed on grains. These blackbirds also eat seeds, nuts, fruits, insects, garbage, and carrion along the roads. They are native to northern and western Australia, found in woodlands, forests, and beaches.
Like other crow species, these Australian crows are omnivores. But, their diet can vary depending on their natural habitats. Outside urban areas, their diet includes invertebrates, carrion, and berries. On the seashore, they eat rodents, smaller birds, and roadkills.
What Do Crows Eat in the Winter? (Foods for Overwinter)
Crows, in winter, eat nuts, fruits, grains, eggs, and vegetables. They consume seeds and insects by a little digging. They also hunt small animals that cannot survive cold weather. From many birders’ backyards, they can feast on kitchen leftovers and garbage.
Like many birds and animals, crows can go into a state called torpor to keep their body inactive so that they can survive harsh winter weather without eating for a long time. However, their torpor doesn’t last more than a day.
What Do Crows Eat at Feeders? (A List of Crow-Friendly Feeders)
In fact, crows eat their food on the ground. However, you may see them consuming a wide variety of treats from different bird feeders. If you install several bird feeders, you may notice crows attempting to take food from them. Let’s see some crow-friendly feeders.
On platform feeders, crows feed on seeds, nuts, grains, and various chopped fruits. To feed these blackbirds, you have to install a platform feeder like this on Amazon. Although crows are large birds, they can perch on hanging platform feeders comfortably.
There are many types of hopper feeders out there. However, crows can eat their treats from open hopper feeders. The foods crows feast on hopper feeders include seeds, nuts, grains, fruits, berries, and vegetables. The Birds Choice Hopper Feeder from Amazon is recommended.
In tube feeders, you can put black oil sunflower seeds, shelled or unshelled peanuts, chopped fruits, berries, and shelled corn. We don’t recommend you feed crows with the help of a tube feeder. However, you can check the Perky-Pet Wild Bird Feeder on Amazon.
Crows are fond of consuming meat, fat, and meat scraps. You can offer crows a good amount of chicken meat and beef fat on suet feeders. In our opinion, the Heath Outdoor Products Suet Feeder from Amazon could be what your crows actually need.
What Do Crows Eat in the Grass? (Feeding on the Ground)
Crows, in the grass, eat various insects, such as beetles, ants, aphids, armyworms, bagworms, cabbage worms, cabbage loopers, crane flies, millipedes, corn earworms, and many more. Once they spot an insect, they forage it using their strong bills.
Apart from insects, crows search for buried seeds, grains, and nuts, especially under seed feeders. Besides, they may even find these treats on the ground. During cold weather, crows pull carrion and dead trout out of the snow.
What Do Baby Crows Eat? (Survival Secret of These Blackbirds)
Baby crows, also known as the chicks or nestlings, mainly eat regurgitated food from their parents once every half an hour in the first few weeks. As they become fledglings, the parents start giving their chicks torn pieces of insects and small mammals.
Almost all nestlings become fledglings between 40 to 60 days old if they get the right nutrition. They reach sexual maturity when they are 2 years old. Surprisingly, many baby crows continue to live with their parents after leaving the nest.
What Can You Feed Baby Crows? (And What You Can’t)
If you found an orphaned baby crow, you should feed it to help it grow with the right nutrition. You can feed baby crows any soft foods, such as cat/dog food, hard-boiled eggs, chopped beef heart and kidney, water-soaked bread, and oatmeal.
Once it gets older, you can gradually introduce insects, meat strips, and any high-protein food to it. When it becomes 6 weeks old, you can let it go to start eating various treats alone. Hopefully, it can join the flock of crows in the wild.
Now, what to avoid while feeding baby crows? You should avoid salt, sugar, roasted nuts, and seasoned meat. Many bird experts say that feeding crows a few pieces of bread is not good for their health. However, some grandmas in the park may not agree with the experts.
Feeding and Foraging Behavior of Crows
Although crows eat about anything, everything they eat is not healthy for them. Surprisingly, crows don’t have trees. They use their strong bills to break foods into pieces. They don’t even chew food. However, their modified digestive system helps them to swallow food.
American crows, for example, usually pick a few torn pieces on a rat and leave most of the rat untouched. Since they’re opportunists, they search for other food sources without eating the whole rat. Crows have records to travel up to 50 kilometers for searching for food.
For your information, crows steal eggs from chicken, duck, and other birds’ nests. They’re also seen at dumpsters and trash bins in urban areas. Like squirrels, these blackbirds bury food for the time when various food sources are not available.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
01. How Often Do Crows Eat or Should I Feed My Crows?
Crows usually eat food when they are the most active. This period ranges from the morning to the afternoon. When you’re going to feed adults, make sure to feed them at least twice a day. For chicks, it should 3 to 4 times in order to ensure their proper growth.
02. Is it illegal to feed crows?
Typically, feeding crows is not illegal. However, some of your neighbors might consider having crows in your yard a bit more problematic. So, consult with your neighbors whether they allow you to feed crows in your yard. You should check your jurisdiction to find out the laws about it.
03. Do crows eat other birds?
Basically, crows sometimes eat other young birds and steal eggs from other birds’ nests. Most birders wonder that crows will decimate songbirds. But the fact is that not only do crows do the job, but owls and hawks also have a role in decreasing the number of songbirds.
04. Are there things that crows don’t or can’t eat?
As scavengers, crows eat almost anything in the wild. They feed on anything from nuts to roadkills. You may even see these birds grabbing snacks and junk food just in front of you when you’re out of mind. In a single statement, there is nothing inedible for crows.
Now that you know what crows eat in the wild, in the grass, and particularly at feeders, you can feed these black-feathered birds in your backyard, placing different types of feeders full of foods or scattering seeds, grains, and nuts on the ground.
By the way, the article you’ve just finished reading includes everything you need to know about what crows feed on. If you still have any query regarding this topic or any experience in feeding crows, you can share with us below in the comment section.