A common bird species that most people have seen is the crow. Crows are just as prevalent in the winter since they do not migrate, in contrast to many other birds. Although there are more than 40 species of crows worldwide, the American crow, which is the most prevalent in the US, and the carrion crow, which is the most prevalent in the UK, are the two most well-known varieties.
Although crows vary in their diet, most of them are omnivores, meaning they consume both plants and animals. They are opportunistic feeders, taking in anything from fruit to seeds to eggs to small animals. Crows have distinct diets throughout the year due to the seasonal variations in the availability of various items. These three items are typical wintertime fare for crows.
1. Grain, Nuts, and Seeds
One of the main components of a crow’s diet is seeds. This comprises nuts like pistachios, pecans, walnuts, almonds, peanuts, and hazelnuts as well as grains like corn, wheat, and oats. Crows search for seeds that spontaneously sprout on untamed trees and other vegetation. They will consume seeds from bird feeders if they can get to them in the winter, when they can also collect seeds on the ground in harvested grain fields.
Additionally, crows cache—bury or conceal—seeds and other foods in cracks and crevices. These saved seeds will come in handy come winter, when food is more scarce. Because crows are such clever birds, they can recall where they put food so they can find it later.
A crow’s diet likewise consists primarily of fruit. The majority of fruit that crows find to eat is consumed. The berries of poison ivy, watermelon, apples, Red Osier Dogwood, chokecherries, and Bittersweet Nightshade are some of the foods that the American Crow prefers to eat. This fruit is mostly found in nature. Certain fruits that ripen in the fall may still be available in the winter, and certain wild fruits ripen in the winter. Crows will also search for human-discarded fruit remnants in compost piles and trash cans in human-developed regions. Crows find a lot of fruits that people eat to be appetizing.
3. Garbage and Carrion
Crows forage on small animals in addition to plants for the majority of the year. But during the winter, many of their typical food sources—such as insects, earthworms, reptiles, amphibians, smaller birds, and their eggs—are unavailable. Although crows do occasionally hunt small mammals, they also eat dead animals called carrion to augment their meals. This can include the remains of larger predators’ meals as well as roadkill. Crows prefer carrion that has already been torn apart because they lack sharp beaks for shredding flesh.
Crows also utilize human-provided food sources in suburban and urban regions. Trash and pet food are included in this. These food sources are abundant in metropolitan settings, which is why crows are typically lured there. Crows are resourceful birds who subsist on trash and human food, even though these foods are not the healthiest for them.
Can humans feed crows in winter?
Crows struggle to find food in the winter, just like most other animals, so many kind individuals wish to give them food as a way of showing their support. Crow feeding is generally OK. Giving any wild animals too much food can accidentally injure them, therefore you should restrict the amount and frequency of feedings. Crows may lose their capacity to forage for food in the wild and become reliant on humans if they receive an excessive amount of food from people. Crow populations can also grow as a result of overfeeding. Because the crows hunt or compete with other animal species, this may be detrimental to the ecology. If the crows’ population growth exceeds the availability of natural food sources, it may also result in future food shortages for them.
If you do choose to feed the crows, you can give them seeds like sunflower seeds, diced apples and dried cranberries, or nuts like peanuts, almonds, and walnuts. Bread and processed foods of any kind have little nutritional value for crows and might even cause illness if given in excess. As all birds are poisonous to caffeine, alcohol, chocolate, and avocados, steer clear of these foods as well. Furthermore, stay away from giving crows any food—including fruit and nuts—that has extra sugar or salt. These foods are not the healthiest for crows, though they do consume them when they discover them on the ground or in garbage cans. It is recommended to limit the amount of unhealthy food that crows eat.