View Full Version : Ugh...the crows are raiding my swallows nests

Jun. 4, 2011, 08:20 PM
:mad:. I hate this. Yes, I know it's nature.

I've had problems in the past with crows flying into the barn and picking babies out of the nests, but not like this year. They even took a fledgling that was already flying and picked it to death -- seen that before and it's really sad to see. Breaks my heart. I love my swallows.

Managed to save a completely naked baby that I found when a crow pulled a nest out onto the cement aisle. Had eaten the head off the other one -- blech.

Brought it in under a light to keep warm (with nesting material) and it gaped for feed this a.m. Eyes aren't even open! It looks like a little gummy bear. None of the rehabbers would take it -- too young.

I have rehabbed before but not this young (naked, eyes covered). It took my newborn diet well, so I returned it to its parents who were empty nested and hanging around their empty nest. They have taken over, but no guarantee the crows won't strike again. It's a daily problem -- all day long. I'm afraid they'll get them all!

What to do, short of a shotgun? Those crows wait until I leave the barn to begin their raid. Clever, nasty birds. Yes, I know they have young to feed and all that, but it seems they've found a very easy food source.

I may keep a radio blaring -- that might help. Input anyone?

Jun. 5, 2011, 02:18 PM
Ughhhh! I'm dealing with something similar. Blue Jays have been wiping out every family of quail around my property. One pair have lost all their babies to the blue jays. Every time the poor quail try to come out of the bushes and move locations the blue jays descend!

Someone recommended hanging fake snakes and metallic ribbons in the trees where the blue jays like to perch. They seem too smart for that though....

It's so darn frustrating! The blue jays have an abundance of food sources around here, but seem obsessed with hunting the quail.

Jun. 5, 2011, 03:28 PM
Hate those crows. I'd been relocating a fledged but not as yet flying robin off of the lawn in front of the barn to the brush by the side of the driveway for a little cover anyway. As I noticed a while later that he was out on the lawn again, a crow swooped in and grabbed the poor little thing. About 6 adult robins took off after it, little robin shrieking all the way, doomed. The crows haven't bothered our barn swallows yet... Just something about birds that predate other birds. I think crows are so smart it would take a good plan to deter them. Perhaps hide out in the barn and nail them with one of those kids water canons when they swoop in? I'd be like that crazy groundskeeper in the CADDYSHACK movie with his gophers-just keep escalating until the whole building came down!! Maybe a water canon would deter the baby quail eating crow crowd as well?

Jun. 5, 2011, 04:35 PM
The problem is, anything I have to discourage the crows (fake owl), will also scare the swallows.

Having my radio in the barn blaring full blast seems to be helping today while I'm not in there. All the horses are out except one stallion, and he's at the far end -- poor dude, don't want to bust his eardrums. He's rocking out...:lol:!

I'm pleased to say that weeny, naked baby is being tended to by its parents...only baby left..:(

Jun. 5, 2011, 10:27 PM
I had a hawk grab a martin baby out of the martin house the other night:mad: My SO is the one who saw it happern and he went running across the pasture yelling at the hawk. I said "see, you are a bird lover";) I hate when things like that happen and try to think everything has to eat, but still.

Tommy's Girl
Jun. 10, 2011, 08:50 PM
I've been thinking about this thread since I first saw it, having had five fledglings in my barn this spring, but no crows - thank God. But my thought: Couldn't you "cage" the beam and part of the ceiling the nests sit on in 2"X4" coated wire? That would leave enough room for the birds to get through, but protect the nests from the crows.

Jun. 11, 2011, 12:07 AM
There is really no way to prevent it -- other than my screaming at them...but I can't be at the barn 24/7. They absolutely watch for me to leave when they start coming in.

If a crow cannot get close enough to the nest itself to pluck out a baby, they are clever and simply tug at the horsehair and down that lines the nest and is hanging out, and just pull the whole liner of the nest out...babies still inside. Then they grab them off the aisle..ugh.

What I HAVE found over these many years that the raids stop mid-June and seldom affect the 2nd brood of swallow babies.

Perhaps crows have only one brood and therefore do not have to be aggressive once their brood no longer depends upon regurgitation and are feeding themselves. That's the only thing I can figure...I need to research.

Jun. 11, 2011, 11:06 AM
I love my swallows, and would be livid if the crows came into my barn! It would be war, and I like crows too.

I do have a flock of crows, but for some reason, they don't come into the barn or even that close to the barns. They seem to stay out in the fields.

I do so love my swallows. They have been returning for years. They make a racket too if my barn doors aren't opened far enough for them to come in and out in the spring. Its really kind of funny.
Its like the in laws showing up and moving in for the summer, because well, heck, its their right ya know.

I have one nest(the original) in one barn, and in the other barn, I have two nests. I do think its a family, although the original nest is at least 15 years old, so I doubt the original pair are still using it. Probably their grandchildren! So glad they know their way home! year after year.