what crows eat

What do CROWS EAT? | Diet and Feeding Habits

Crows can eat just about anything. And they will. These birds consume hundreds of different food items. Just because crows are omnivores, which means they can eat plants and meat, it doesn’t mean they should eat everything.

What do crows eat?

Crows can eat plants and animals to survive. So technically, that means that crows are omnivores just like people.

Crows eat a wide assortment of foods. Being an omnivore, crows will eat almost anything they can find in their environment. Therefore, these birds eat many things like other birds, rats, mice and dead animals, seeds, grains, small fish, and even reptiles.

Crows have a diverse diet. They don’t just eat roadkill on the side of the road. We will look at the dynamic diet of crows and how their diet changes from place to place and from season to season.

What do crows eat in the wild?

Crows aren’t picky eaters; they’ll eat almost anything they can find in the wild. But, they prefer to eat small animals, earthworms, rats, mice, berries, nuts, seeds, and many types of grains. These birds also eat many different types of insects in the wild.

Crows will eat the following foods in the wild:

  • Insects (Crows eat crop pests like locusts, crickets, Japanese beetles, True bugs, Colorado potato beetle, stink bugs, and more. But they also consume spiders, beetles, grasshoppers, and weevils.)
  • Birds (Crows eat small birds like eiders, loons, sparrows, jays, terns, and more.)
  • Fish (Crows eat clams, crayfish, muscles, fish etc., in the wild.)
  • Grains (Wheat, millet, milo, etc.)
  • Fruits (Crows are fond of acorns, beans, almonds, apples, figs, peas, wild fruits and cherries.)
  • Seeds
  • Rodents and small mammals (mice, rats, squirrels, etc.)
  • Reptiles (turtles, lizards, etc.)
  • Roadkill
  • Eggs
  • Whatever they can find in the trash. Crows consume a good amount of trash around cities.

When crows are full and cannot eat anymore, they’ll carry it away and hide it.

What do baby crows eat?

Baby crows in the wild eat whatever their parents bring them. This is because young crows need a high-protein diet to help them grow fast. So the parents regurgitate food into the mouths of baby crows. Because baby crows are incapable of breaking down food, their parents must first partially digest food. That’s how crows make food safe for baby crows.

Baby crows should not eat any of the following:

  • Milk
  • Water
  • Kitchen scraps
  • Bread or bread products
  • Pet bird food
  • Worms
  • Whole birdseed

Unlike mammals, crows do not drink milk in the wild. This is because their digestive systems cannot tolerate milk. In fact, milk can be toxic to baby crows, so they shouldn’t consume it.

As the baby crow matures, the longer it can go between feedings.

How do crows eat?

Crows mostly eat in the morning and during the afternoon. Although they may do some foraging during the day. The feeding habits of crows change with the seasons. During the spring and summer months, crows feed on earthworms and invertebrates. And during the winter months, their diet comprises waste grain.

Farmers don’t mind having crows around when they consume insects (weevils, grasshoppers, etc.) that damage crops.

When crows get their fill, they hide food. They love to hide food in rain gutters and tree branches. And, they might follow other birds to get to their stash. Crows are not afraid of stealing food from the hands of humans.

Crows are smart enough to drop nuts in front of vehicles to crack them open. In coastal areas, crows have been observed to drop shellfish on rocks to crack them open.

Do baby crows drink water?

Like any bird, baby crows need water to survive. Therefore, baby crows will drink if given a chance. However, the adult crows cannot bring the young ones a cup of water. Since baby crows cannot leave the nest, they have to take their water through food.

Crows soak the food in water before they bring it to their nestlings. Thus, baby crows may not drink water the way you do, but they do get a steady supply of water. Essentially, baby crows get the liquids they need from a wet meal.

Baby crows also get water from vegetables and fruits that have high water content. Some of the highest water content fruits are apples, pears, and watermelon.

Baby crows may be able to get rainwater from small puddles. Although this isn’t a reliable water source for young crows, it can quench their thirst sometimes.

As crows mature, they don’t need to soak their food in water anymore. Still, adult crows will dip their food in water if there’s water in the area.

What do crows eat in the winter?

Finding food in winter is a challenge for many birds, including crows. Some birds shut down their bodies while others enter a state known as “torpor,” where their bodies become inactive. But crows can find enough food to survive in winter. As a result, crows can go through winter without shutting their bodies down.

In winter, crows find food through a bit of digging. Seeds and insects are typical winter food for crows. Crows also scavenge on animals that were unable to survive the cold temperatures.

Foods that crows eat in the winter

In the wild, winter is the season of food scarcity. But, some birds, like crows, can find abundant food sources even under deep snow cover. Crows have the skills to find food even in sub-zero temperatures. They’re some of the most intelligent birds and are skilled at identifying potential food sources even in winter.

Now, let’s look at some winter food options for crows during the winter months.

  • Bird feeders – When food is scarce, bird feeders can supplement the natural diet of crows. Bird feeders give a calorie boost, helping crows to survive another nasty winter.
  • Small animals – Crows consume small animals and roadkill to survive throughout the winter.
  • Birds – Crows feed on birds in winter.
  • Nuts – Crows find nuts in leaf litter or under plants, especially when there isn’t a lot of snow.
  • Seeds – Crows can eat the same seeds in winter they eat during summer. Seeds can get crows through even the coldest winters. The high fat content of seeds helps crows to cope with the cold winter temperatures.
  • Fruits – Many people associate fruits with summer. But there is plenty of fruits for crows during winter. Crows may not find fresh fruit, but they can get grapes, apples, blueberries, raspberries, and raisins in winter.
  • Grains – Crows consume grains in agricultural fields to help them get through the winter months.
  • Tree sap – Tree sap is an excellent food source for crows during the coldest winter months.
  • Carrion – Opportunistic birds like American crows eat when animals become carrion to cope with the harsh winter environment.
  • Insects – Crows cannot eat flying insects in winter, but they eat larvae if they can find any.

Do crows eat chipmunks?

Crows do eat chipmunks. And they also eat other small animals like mice and rats.

Crows and chipmunks can live peacefully in the same area. Crows live in tree branches, and chipmunks either make nests or burrows.

In your backyard, you may find chipmunks and crows living alongside, like friendly neighbors. But a hungry crow with nothing else to eat will quickly turn a chipmunk into a quick meal.

Although crows can kill chipmunks, if necessary, crows prefer to eat dead animals. Crows don’t just enjoy a chipmunk corpse now and then; they will attack small animals if necessary.

Crows also enjoy chasing after and eating baby chipmunks and rats. They are small enough to serve as an easy meal for these birds.

Do crows eat mice?

Yes, crows do eat mice. Crows like to hunt for small animals like mice, rats, and squirrels. In addition to mice, crows eat various foods like plants, grains, seeds, nuts, fruits, even roadkill.

Do crows eat bread?

Yes, crows eat bread, but it’s not good for them. Bread, rolls, tortilla chips are all foods crows will eat. But bread is not their favorite food. Crows prefer to eat small animals, grains, nuts, fruits, even cat food a lot more than bread.

Is feeding crows daily good or bad?

Even though adult crows need about 350 grams of food each day to survive, you shouldn’t feed them. Likewise, feeding them crows daily or at any time is generally a bad idea because crows are not pets.

How often do crows eat?

It’s best to keep food away from crows after dark because the food will attract rats, mice and other rodents. However, once crows started hiding food, they had their fill.

Do crows eat other birds?

Crows do eat other birds, and if they don’t eat them, they’ll scare them away. Crows eat eggs and kill nestlings and adult birds. But crows are not the only animals that hunt birds. Rats, mice, raccoons, cats, squirrels, foxes, owls, bullfrogs, and of course hawks will all gladly eat birds, especially eggs and nestlings. In fact, crows are subject to the same predators as other birds.

Do crows eat squirrels?

Crows do eat squirrels, and they especially like to eat baby squirrels. But that doesn’t mean that crows will eat every squirrel in sight. It’s not unheard of for crows to kill squirrels in the belief they are protecting their territory.

Because squirrels know how to fight back, killing a squirrel can be dangerous for a crow. Perhaps that’s the reason squirrels aren’t particularly afraid of crows. So when you see a crow attack an adult squirrel, you could witness the squirrel fighting the crow instead of trying to get away.

Since crows are scavengers, they’ll be glad to eat dead squirrels.

Is it illegal to feed crows?

You should check your local laws to find out if it’s illegal to feed crows. Generally, it’s a bad idea to feed wild animals. The worst thing about feeding crows is that you disrupt their natural feeding patterns. When you feed crows, you also make them dependent on the food you feed them.

Whether it’s legal or illegal to feed crows, they don’t need your food. Crows are perfectly able to find food. After all, crows are some of the smartest birds. They’ll figure out how to find enough food to thrive and survive without your help.