Keeping Crows from Cherries

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Posted by Horticulture Guy - Peter Punzi | Posted in Outside U.S. Gardeners | Posted on 25-03-2006

Q. How do i keep crows out of my cherry trees? I heard an owl decoy might work ..Help? Scott Landon – Surrey, B.C.

A. I am sorry to say that the “Natural Enemy Scarecrow” sold to control “birds” is also the owl decoy (like the great horned owl decoys) used to attract crows for hunters – thus the term decoy. Where the great horned owl decoys may frighten smaller songbirds they instead incite mobbing behavior. Hunters use this to their advantage by setting up an own decoy and maybe a few fake crows on the ground nearby and then make an audible crow distress call. Crows are arguably the most intelligent birds rivaling and some claiming exceeding the intelligence of parrots. So if the crows are coming by to feed on your cherries (which they will remember to come back this year) they will find a predator and likely proceed to mob it. Especially if it is near their nesting sites. Once they take out your scarecrow they will be free to feast. Reflective scare tape may provide short-term control but crows may habituate to that as well if used for too long a period of time. There is also motion-sensing water propelling scarecrow sprinkler that can be set up to protect the trees. But the most effective method would be to exclude them from the tree using bird netting. There are large sizes (28’x28’) made specifically for protecting fruit trees. Put them up at least a week before you think they will ripen since the crows (just like the raccoons) are willing to eat fruit a little on the sour side and could still beat you to your fruit.