So, you need to get rid of ravens from your yard or home.
In this comprehensive guide, you’ll learn:
- How to tell a raven from a crow
- How to repel and deter ravens from your home
- Ways to scare them off naturally
- How to get rid of them
- And more
Ravens are very smart birds, so it can be difficult to control them.
But you can always take some measures at home to reduce the raven population.
Feel free to bookmark this page so you can easily refer back to it. It’s quite a read, but by the end of this page, you should have everything you need to know to keep them away.
Sound good? Let’s go raven-free.
What’s a raven?
Ravens are an all-black bird that’s found throughout the United States.
They’ve lived with humans for many decades and are present where we are. Some of them have been considered as pest species because they’re so present.
Ravens are birds often confused with crows. The majority of people have a problem with crows as a pest, rather than ravens.
Because the two species are difficult to tell apart, a lot of people group them together.
Where do ravens live?
There are at least 8 subspecies and are present all over the world.
They’re found in the United States, Canada, Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia, Middle East, Tasmania, Victoria, and Mexico. They’re mainly found in the northern hemisphere.
In the US, they’re mainly found in the western to central ranges. Ravens are less present in the southeastern states.
They’re often found in coniferous forests, along coasts, tundras, rivers, and prairies. They usually found in mountainous or desert regions in the US.
If you have a bird problem, you need to distinguish between the two bird species to make sure you’re dealing with the right one!
Ravens are completely black and may appear bluish under specific lighting conditions.
They’re about 2.5 – 2.7 pounds and almost look exactly like a crow.
They have black fur, beaks, heads, and plumage. They’re about 22-25” in length and are one of the heaviest passerine birds. Ravens in colder areas have thicker plumage and are slightly heavier with larger bills.
Ravens have a predictable life cycle.
The adult female lays 3-7 eggs in a nest composed of twigs and sticks. The innermost part of the nest is made from a mixture of soft fur, grass, bark, and mud to hold it together. The nest is usually spotted on a tall structure, such as a cliff or bridge.
Eggs will incubate and hatch after 25 days on average. The parents care for the newborn chicks until they’re about 3-5 weeks old. They leave the nest afterward. The parents stay mates for another year and may reuse the same nest.
What do ravens eat?
Ravens are omnivorous predators and will eat a varied diet. They’re opportunistic feeders, meaning they eat based on leftover scraps of available food for the most part.
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Some of the common foods that ravens eat are:
Is it legal to kill ravens?
Depending on the conservation status of your state, you’ll have to check to see the legalities behind the protection of ravens.
Are ravens and crows the same thing?
Ravens and crows are similar in appearance, so it’s easy for the common person to confuse the two species. There are a few main differentiating features you can use to tell them apart.
Please note that ravens and crows vary depending on the species. There is no hard and fast rule that can tell them apart.
Crows travel in groups, while ravens travel in pairs
The first is that crows tend to travel together in larger groups, whereas ravens travel in pairs. If you see a single pair or a lone bird, it’s probably a raven.
They tend to flock together to feed and don’t usually bring other pairs with them. If you see a large group of birds, such as 3 or more, they’re probably crows.
Crows travel and feed in larger groups and you can often see them foraging for food and water together. They also roost in trees in large numbers and travel the same way.
Ravens will often just be in a single pair for foraging and roosting, similar to pigeons.
When you see a big black bird flying overhead, take a look at its tail. Crows will have a large, bushy, fan-shaped tail. Ravens will have a triangular-shaped tail.
Although they can look the same, they’re really not. A crow’s tail looks like a fully opened (?) fan. While a raven’s tail is much more narrow and pointed at the end. You may even call it wedge-shaped.
Crows are usually smaller than ravens. But specific species are larger than others. There’s no exact distinction between a raven and crow.
The plumage on a crow is dark, pitch black with a metallic luster. They’re usually completely black, including the beak, head, feet, and entire body. The wingspan also has no coloration on the feathers.
Ravens are more of a navy blue color with less luster. They’re also completely covered in the same bluish tone- spanning across their beak, head, feet, and tail. They’re regarded as all-black birds, but lightning can make them appear bluish.
The common raven has a larger and heavier beak compared to crows.
Note that depending on the species, environment, and more, this is not always true.
The last thing you can use to tell the difference between a raven and a crow is the sounds they make. Crows will “caw” while ravens will make an uglier call.
The crow’s caw seems to be much more vibrant and full. But the raven’s caw is more “broken” and fuzzy. If you had to pick between the two birds, the raven’s caw sounds lot “uglier” compared to the crow’s. Regardless, this isn’t a reliable technique to tell one bird from the other.
Even though ravens are NOT the same as crows, the methods outlined here should work for both bird species. They should help control and keep them away from your property.
Ravens have shaggy feathers around their beak and throat. Crows lack these features
And they also tend to frolic in areas where you don’t want them to, such as trampling your flowers or defecating on your home.
That’s probably why you’re here. We’ll cover some methods you can do at home to help get rid of ravens from your home and yard.
How to get rid of ravens naturally
Here are some methods you can do at home to get rid of nuisance ravens.
The key is to use a bunch of them and see which one works best. This is assuming that you’re actually dealing with ravens and not crows.
Most of these methods are humane and harm the raven, so you should be OK. You should always check with your local laws before doing anything that may harm them. And you should always exercise caution for yourself as well. Practice common sense!
These DIY home remedies should help you control and manage ravens from your home and yard.
How do you scare a raven away?
Here are some tips to scare the birds away.
They’re typically afraid of loud noises and natural predators. Both of these can come in handy to scare them off.
Use predator sounds
Sounds seem to be an effective measure against ravens. You can buy professional sound machines if you have a ton of ravens in your area and you don’t have time to constantly monitor them.
Otherwise, you can pre-record raven predator sounds on any modern device (phone, computer, MP3 player, etc.) and then play it through a speaker. I’m assuming you know how to play music through an external speaker. If not, you can buy any old speaker and attach it to whatever device you’re using.
From there, just let it play the predator sounds over and over on a repeating loop.
The easiest way is to either get a speaker for the outdoors that’s hooked up to a power source and connected to your device via Bluetooth. This way, you can control the predator sounds from your computer or phone and it’ll wireless play outdoors to scare the ravens off.
Of course, the speaker needs to be weatherproof and safely connected to a source of power.
You can grab the soundtracks online. Just do a search for “raven predator sounds” or something similar, then download a track and play it on a loop.
Some of the most common predators of ravens are:
- And humans
Use distress calls
Ravens have distress calls that they use to alert all nearby birds to flee the area. If you’re able to buy a distress call track and play it constantly over and over.
This will scare off ravens and crows from your yard. You can even just go to YouTube and search for “raven distress call sounds.”
Find a track and play it outdoors. Remember that ravens are smart birds. If you just keep playing the same sound repeatedly and “spam” their ears off, they’ll learn that it’s fake.
The key is to make it sound natural and only play it once in a while. And to use a different sound each time you play it.
Most of the tracks online are just distress calls one after the other.
Here’s how you can approach this:
- Wait until a bunch of ravens gather outside your home.
- Play one or two distress calls directly at them, then pause.
- Repeat the process.
Don’t just let the calls play all day, nonstop, You want pauses between them with different types of calls. Make it sound natural or else you’ll render it useless as they become accustomed to it.
Use any loud noise
Other than predator and distress calls, you can use anything that’s loud to scare them off.
This means using pots and pans, coins in a can, or even a drum kit. Whatever you can do to make some noise will scare them off. Do this enough times and they’ll stay away from your backyard.
Get a dog or cat
Cats are natural predators of ravens and dogs may also chase them away. If you have either of these as a pet, let them roam your yard once in a while (such as on a potty break).
When the ravens spot a dog or cat in your yard, they’ll learn to avoid your home as a predator is present.
Use your hose
You can use a hose with a pressurized nozzle to spray them down. Just a few streams of water will drive them away. This is humane and doesn’t harm the bird either.
Use motion-activated sprinklers
Another option is to use speakers that detect motion.
These are made specifically for scaring off pests like coyotes, yard moles, and possums found in your yard. As soon as they detect movement, they’ll turn on and spray down the raven. This will scare them off as they hate to get wet.
You can strategically position these and they’ll spray ravens away from your yard, rooftop, trees, patio, fence, or even to protect your chicken coop (other than stealing the chicken eggs).
How to get rid of ravens in your yard
The best way to completely get rid of ravens from your yard is to stop attracting them.
For people who live in areas where ravens are native and the population is high, this may be difficult.
But there are still measures you can take to deter and repel them from coming to your yard in the first place.
The key is to keep your yard maintained. Without the natural things that ravens are attracted to, they have no reason to roost in your yard.
Does that make sense?
In other words, you want to get rid of all the attractants that are bringing more ravens to your yard.
Some of these are easy and quick fixes, so you should do them ASAP:
- Secure all trash cans using locked lids (this also helps for other pests)
- Remove all excess pet food after feeding (dog, cat, bird, chicken, etc.)
- Dispose of leaf litter
- Keep your trees pruned
- Take down any unnecessary trees
- Remove or prune any high weeds
- Keep bushes and shrubs tidy
- Mow your lawn
- Secure compost bins
- Cover woodpiles
- Keep the entire yard clean
- Remove debris
- Clean out gutters or drains
This will help reduce the number of ravens scouring your yard for excess food. Keeping the trees and foliage pruned will also remove areas for them to roost and hide.
Remove water sources
Ravens need food and water. The above tips should help reduce the amount of food they have. But water’s a different story.
To get rid of excess water available to ravens, you should do the following practices:
- Remove birdbaths
- Drain all backed-up gutters and drains
- Secure ponds
- Remove excess stagnant water
- Add raven deterrents around water fountains (outlined below)
- Dispose of excess water for pets, chickens, and livestock
Add raven deterrent
You can also add some natural deterrents for ravens to scare them off and keep them away from your home.
Here are a few of the most popular ones.
Spiked landing strips will help repel them from roosting in specific areas. Obviously, you can’t cover your entire yard.
But you can still strategically place them in areas where you notice ravens roost more so than others.
You can buy spiked strips at most hardware stores and online. They come in all types of designs, but you really just need a basic one that discourages ravens from perching.
Measure your coverage area and buy the appropriate amount. You can add up all the areas you want to cover in length to get an approximate amount of how many strips you’ll need.
Keep in mind that each area that you want to protect will require varying lengths.
For example, you may need small sections for areas like your patio awning, but longer sections for your yard fence.
Here are some common areas you may want to protect:
- Patio awnings
- Yard fences
- Drainage systems
- Food storage areas
- Trash areas
- Chicken coops
After you buy the strips, apply them as the directions say. This will help deter ravens and other birds from entering your yard and roosting all over the place.
Consider buying larger spikes since ravens are larger birds. This will stop ravens, but allow smaller birds to roost.
Add predator decoys
You can buy fake decoys of natural predators, such as owls and hawk decoys.
Place them around your yard and change up the positioning often. Remember that ravens are smart, so you’ll need to play smart to outsmart them. They’ll recognize the same decoy in the same place if you leave it there. So you should always mix it up.
Combine the decoy with a predator call and you’ll double the effectiveness. If you make the sound come from the decoy, it just looks more real to the raven and may outsmart them. (Read the section “use predator sounds” above for tips.)
Some decoys have animated parts or lights. Consider getting one with all the bells and whistles for a better effect. Ravens are smart. You’ll need to do what you can to trick them. Don’t underestimate them.
How to get rid of ravens on the roof
To control ravens on the roof, you can use a combination of the many methods we outlined above. I’d suggest starting off with something like this:
- Add spiked landing strips on the perimeter of your roof
- Add a raven decoy on the roof
- Put a speaker nearby the rooftop that plays distress calls or predator sounds
- Use foil balloons, aluminum foil flags, or reflective tape
- Trim nearby trees
Other than that, there’s not much you can do to control them from laying on your roof. Unless you cover the entire rooftop in spiked strips, raven persists.
You can also consider adding a motion-controlled sprinkler to spray them,
Reasons why you may want to keep ravens
Although ravens are some pesky birds, there are many benefits to keep them around.
Here are a few:
- They chase off hawks, which may eat chickens or livestock
- Ravens feed on smaller prey such as rodents, which can keep your yard rodent-free
- Ravens forage for small bugs and can help control the populations in your yard
- They also steal and eat eggs of other birds, which may be a pest species
- Ravens will deter many other pests that you probably don’t want to deal with (field mice, rats, and even small moles.
- They hang out in smaller groups of two so they don’t really “overtake” your garden
- Ravens don’t usually have numbers high enough to destroy crops or vegetation
- They usually keep to themselves and aren’t really a nuisance, unless there are many
You’ll have to weigh the pros and cons. Sometimes it may not be worth your effort to attempt to get rid of them.
Since they’re smart birds, they can be prevalent. Thus making ravens difficult to get rid of permanently from your yard or home.
Here are some other resources you may find helpful for raven control:
- “Best Ways To Deal With Ravens” – Avian Control
- “How can I get rid of ravens?” – BackyardChickens
- “With whom to dine? Ravens’ responses to food-associated calls depend on individual characteristics of the caller” – NCBI
Did you bring down the raven population?
You should now have a good understanding of these birds and what you can do to repel, control, and deter them from your garden.
Remember, ravens aren’t usually considered a nuisance. You may actually be dealing with crows, rather than ravens. Many people are confused between the two and thus give ravens a bad rep.
Sometimes it’s OK to just leave them be, especially if the benefits ravens offer outweigh the cons.
Other times, there are just too many of them, especially after hatching season. It’s up to you to make the call!
If you have any other questions, leave a comment below and I’ll help you out.
Or if you found this tutorial to be helpful, let me know. Consider telling a friend who may also be having some raven pest problems.
Thanks for reading!
Currently an active researcher in the pest control industry for the past 8 years- with a focus on using natural and organic methods to eliminate pest problems.
I share handy DIY pest techniques I come across here to help out others (and possibly save them from a mental breakdown).
Fight nature with nature.