Recently I observed crows in my garden eating some bugs, this got me wondering whether this was normal behavior. In this article, I explain the research I did whether it’s normal for them to eat insects and if it’s part of their diet.
So, do crows eat insects? Crows do eat insects and bugs like crickets, moths, grasshoppers, caterpillars, beetles, millipedes, centipedes, locusts, cutworms, butterflies, bees, larvae, and even spiders especially the American crow. You will find crows foraging for insects in the garden or in the grass in the city parks. However, crows are omnivores and do not rely on insects alone, crows favorite food includes small cat and dog food, nuts, vegetables, seeds and fruits, eggs plus dead animals.
Crows are scavengers commonly called carrion birds and will eat almost anything that they come across in their path. They are also vicious predators of small animals such as squirrels, chipmunks, and birds especially ones that are injured or young.
They will also not shy away from eating dead animals such as roadkills, these traits are some of the factors that give crows an upper hand when it comes to survival in new ecosystems. As compared to animals that stick to a specific diet such as lions or elephants.
The American crow is a good example of a crow that has adapted and survived in the urban centers eating roadkill as a good part of its diet.
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Why do crows eat insects/bugs?
As mentioned earlier crows are scavengers and will eat anything that crosses their path as long as it is edible. Bugs and insects can be part of the dead and decaying food that crows encounter dead animals or carrions.
The omnivorous nature of the crow also allows them to eat both plants and animals. Given that insects are animals they make a good part of crow’s diet especially when they are in high supply especially during winter.
Crows will ravage through the bird feeders filled with insects and eat up almost all the insects such as crickets and mealworms.
Therefore, when filling your bird feeders with bugs to attract birds that eat bugs into your garden be sure there are no crows around your area.
If you have crows in your area you should account for that fact when stocking for bugs.
If you are also looking to attracting crows into your yard or garden provide a good nesting or roosting area for them, use fake crow calls, fake crows such as the ones used during Halloween.
The importance of crows eating insects
One of the major importance of crows eating insects is to control their population. Insects can be a nuisance since they are considered as pests. Therefore, any animal that reduces their population is always a welcome.
A whole family of crows can eat as much as 40, 000 bugs and insects per season. This means about 40, 000 problems to the gardeners will be eliminated by a single family of crows.
If insects were to increase at a high rate without control they would cause a lot of problems to the farmers such as crop destruction and diseases.
According to this source birds can eat as much as 400 million tons of insects per year.
While at the same time crows can become destructive on your farm especially if you corn, keeping them around can help you fight bugs and insects.
Do poisonous bugs harm crows?
Just like other scavengers and carnivores, crows have a strong digestive system that allows them to digest and handle venom that most other birds would not be able to.
However, some spiders are very poisonous such as the black widow spider. Despite being poisonous these bugs can only cause stomach upset to any bird that eats them.
Some birds have been known to keep off any bug that caused them health issues the next time they encounter them while foraging.
How do crows catch and eat insects?
While it is rare for crows to go chasing for insects when they find a plentiful supply of insects such as a beehive, under a log of a dead tree, or in the garden, they will not shy away from feasting and even inviting their fellow crows.
In the parks or in the wild you will find crows foraging for the insects in the grass. In the home setting, you may find them in your garden foraging for them and they can be destructive especially if your garden happens to have a lot of bugs that they can eat.
What is crows favorite food?
Crow’s favorite food is composed of eggs, small dog and cat foods, unsalted nuts such as peanuts, seeds, fruits and vegetables, and dead meat.
If you want to attract crows to your garden or backyard use any or a combination of the food items listed above.
However, do not feed crows foods such as chocolate as they can be very poisonous and even end up killing crows within a very short period of time.
You can read more about why you should not feed chocolate plus a list of other toxic foods to crows. In this post by clicking here.
As already established insects make a considerable part of a crows diet. While all crows can eat and enjoy eating insects and other bugs the American Crow is on top of the list. Insects will help provide food during winter when crows cannot find enough food. This is because as crows forage in the urban areas where trash is dumbed they will come across insects larvae in those trash. By eating bugs and insects crows help control these small nuggets that can be a nuisance to both humans and plants.