Since the crow is a large bird, you might think it’s rare for an animal to eat it. But not really! Some natural predators hunt down crows to eat them.
What animals eat crow? Generally, larger birds like hawks, raccoons, owls, and eagles are the main predators who feed on crows. From the ground, predators who eat crows are mainly squirrels, cats, dogs, and a few species of snakes like garter snakes. Crows make a significant food source for these organisms, promoting their survival. Hence, crows play a vital role in the ecosystem and the animal food chain.
If you’re looking for more details regarding what animals eat crows and how the whole food chain involving crows works, continue reading the article here.
What Animals To Feed Crows?
The common predators of crows are mainly the raptors, which are generally much larger than them. One of them is the hawks or the bird of prey. They attack crows, kill them, and eat them during the day. The common species of hawks that feed on crows are Cooper’s, red-tailed, and sharp-shinned hawks. They swoop down fiercely onto a crow and hunt it down in quickly.
At night, the biggest enemy for the crows is another raptor—the owls, especially the long-eared or great-horned owls. They attack crows at night while they’re roosting on their nests. Other raptors on the predators’ list include the eagles, falcons, and raccoons. Eagles are fierce hunters like the hawks.
Some other birds that can mob or attack them include ravens, red-winged blackbirds, blue jays, grackles, etc. However, they don’t do that to eat crows but rather to protect themselves and their nestling from the crows.
Some ground predators are also after the crows to eat them. It’s less common, but whenever there’s an opportunity, mammals such as raccoons, squirrels, cats, dogs, opossums, and foxes can attack crows or their nestlings. The raccoons or squirrels can often raid their nests and eat their eggs and nestlings.
Similarly, snakes like garter snakes or the reptiles that can climb trees are also dangerous for the crows.
How Birds or Raptors Attack Crows?
We’ve found out who’re the natural predators of a crow. It’s mainly the avians that include both the raptors and some birds. Now, check out the details below if you’re wondering how they attack a crow, its eggs, or nestling.
The most common enemy for a crow is a hawk who often attacks young crows during the day. These raptors eat many nestlings and fledglings of the crow. It’s because adult crows go offensive against hawks and attack them in a mob. Crows can’t be attacked when they’re in the flock, but if it’s a one-on-one face-off, it might probably lose and get eaten. If a hungry hawk sees a crow roaming alone, it’ll swoop on it to kill and eat it.
Eagles are one of those raptors who watch out for a chance to attack the crow nests and eat their eggs. Bald eagles are often after the younger crows, even the adults if they’re out of the flock. One-on-one battles are interesting between a crow and an eagle because the eagle is mighty, but crows are intelligent to survive an attack. However, a crow can often get taken by the reflexive grab of the eagle’s talon, which can lead the crow to be fiercely killed and carried to the eagle’s nest for dinner.
Also read: Are Crows Dangerous To Humans, Dogs, Cats?
Great Horned Owls
The most ferocious hunters of crows at night are the great-horned owls. These owls attack crows when they’re roosting at night. Owls can easily hide in the green trees and suddenly attack the crows. They kill and eat them. The research says these owls love eating crow brains.
Apart from these raptors, the falcon can also attack crows and eat them. Although they attack the crows less commonly, they love eating dead crows. Raven is another bird that can attack crows. They also raid their nests to crack and eat their eggs.
How Mammals or Ground Predators Attack Crows?
Besides raptors or avians, some mammals also attack and eat crows. Let’s look into some details about them.
The most common mammal predator for crows is the raccoon. They often attack crow nestlings and fledglings to kill and eat them. Raccoons are also known for stealing crow eggs when parent crows aren’t there.
Like raccoons, squirrels, especially the easter gray species, also attack young crows and try to steal the crow eggs. However, squirrels can’t win over adult crows. Since they live on trees, they’re mainly after the crow eggs.
Although a flock of crows mobs opossums, they’re opportunistic eaters of nestling crows and the unhatched eggs.
Cats & Dogs
Cats and dogs can also indulge in a fight with the crow. Anyone can win over in these fights, but these animals can be seen carrying a dead crow in their mouth.
Snakes & Others
A more giant snake, such as a garter snake, can gobble up a young crow. The ones that can climb trees can also attack their eggs. Any animal climbing a tree can attack the crow nest and eat its eggs.
Do All Predators of Crows Attack to Eat Them?
Predator birds, such as kingbirds, red-winged blackbirds, blue jays, and grackles, don’t attack crows to eat them. These birds mob crows mainly to protect themselves and their eggs from crows. They also drive away the crows to defend their food sources.
Do Crows Fight Back When Attacked?
Crows are intelligent birds, and they know their enemies very well. They don’t surrender; they fight till the very end. But generally, the crows retaliate in a big and noisy group, and this behavior is known as mobbing.
Crows mob hawks, owls, or other animals to drive them away from their territory. They do that to protect themselves, their food sources, nests, eggs, and nestlings.
Whenever the crows see an attacker near their nests, eggs, or chicks, they swarm from every direction, peck them hard to draw blood, drag feathers, and try to dodge the predator out of the area. The preying animals escape when they see crow mobs and avoid getting pecked.
Which Predator is the Crows Afraid of the Most?
Since crows have poor eyesight, they’re afraid of any predator who can attack them at night. The great horned owls, including crows, are secretive assassins who attack avians at night. They can kill crows and their babies to eat while also snatching their eggs.
But the tables turn during the day as crows mob the owls and try to drive them far away from their territory to avoid being attacked at night.
Related: Can Crows Be Trained Like Parrots?
Time to get some more FAQs answered here. Let’s find out.
Research says crows remember their predators and seek revenge on those who have harmed them. They can communicate with fellow crows and mob humans or animals who’ve disturbed them.
Crows can sense danger and send out a warning to other feeding crows known as “scolding.” A study suggests that when a crow dies, there are sentries to investigate the matter and send alerts to fellow crows.
Crows often chase eagles, mainly to protect their nests and eggs from the other bird of prey. But they can also chase eagles to steal their food or snatch the prey caught by the eagles.
The animals that can attack and eat crows are some raptors, a few mammals, and reptiles that can climb trees. Hawks are the most common predators of crows who often attack, kill, and eat them, especially when alone. Most predators avoid attacking the crows in a flock as crows counter-attack and mob their predators.
The great horned owls are the most threatening to the crows as they attack them at night when they’re highly vulnerable. Some animals, such as falcons, look for dead crows to eat, while most raptors and mammals raid crows’ nests to steal their eggs and nestlings. The crows are scavengers that play an essential role in the food chain by eating decaying biomass as well as becoming food for other animals in the ecosystem.