Do crows migrate? Why do crows migrate?

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Do crows migrate?

Yes, crows do migrate from one place to another. However, not all species will migrate as some are partially migratory species and others are totally residential crows.

In other words, you can say that those crows that are partially migratory can have individuals of the same species that are residential and others are migratory within the same population.

Those species that are residential are known to have the individuals of the same species with no migratory behaviour.

Just, for instance, the American Crow species are both residential and migratory, meaning that some species migrate while many won’t. So, in other words, they are partially migratory.

Another one like the many species of the Indian Crows living in the South Indian states is known to be a residential and not migratory species. So, in words, they are residential birds and so don’t migrate.

Also, many of the partially migratory Indian Jungle Crows can be well seen in the Western Ghats of India.

Those that are migratory are known to migrate to warm regions by flying more than 500 kms to get rid of the extreme winters and also to breed.


Those that migrate are seen to travel in massive groups. So, almost thousands to hundreds of thousands of crows migrate to roost, brood, and defecate upon their new property.

Every year the migratory crows will travel to a new place and settle there for a few months and will make a new nest there and then will find their mates in their new place to breed.

At what time of the year do crows migrate?

Generally, it has been seen that crows migrate in order to rid of the extreme level of cold prevailing in a particular place.

In general, they have been seen to migrate out of those areas where the minimum January temperature falls below 0°C to -17°C.

The crows’ migration rates will increase during the winter season from January and will decrease gradually near the beginning of the breeding season between March to April.

They will migrate to their new places and breed there. Soon after breeding, and hatching the eggs, the adults will leave the nest soon after May, and will again migrate to their previous location after about 28 to 35 days.

The young ones will remain in the nest for 28-35 days. It is common for youngsters to leave the nest before they are able to fly and they can spend up to several days on the ground. Soon, they will join the group and migrate.

Individual crows were consistent in their migratory behavior across years, and so their breeding-site fidelity was high.

Meaning that both the migratory and resident crows returned to the same location in the breeding season of each year.

So, in simple words crows do migrate during the winter season from January to March months of the year to breed and get rid of the extreme winters.

Soon after that, they will breed in their migrated location and will lay eggs and nurture their young ones. And so, soon after 28 to 35 days time period, they will migrate back to their previous location.

How far do crows migrate?

Migratory crows are known to migrate for more than 500 kilometre every year to go from one place to another.

Now, the travel distance gradually depends on the location and species of crow. Some can travel more than 1,000 kilometres as and some for only around 500 kilometres.

It has been studied that during the winters, crows of the east coast in Utica, New York and west coast in Davis, California of the United States migrate to very far locations.

The crows of the east coast were seen to migrate distances of about 280–1,095 km and those of the west coast were seen to migrate around 177–793 km respectively.

This migration data was collected by using a combination of satellite telemetry, isotopic signatures, and molecular markers of about 33 microsatellites to describe and characterize the migratory movements of the individuals.

The main reason for migration was to go to a warm location and breed there.

The data have precisely shown that of all of the crows on the west and east coast, about 73% of the western crows and 86% of eastern crows preforms their migrational behaviour.

It has been noticed that crows migrate to their same breeding ground each year, and they don’t switch their migrational strategies and locations depending on their environmental conditions.

However, they are flexible in spending the spring in whichever place they want. The place may or may not be the same place where they had already spend their spring during the previous migrational year.

Where do crows go in the winter?

Crows migrate to warm regions when its winter. However, not all crows of the same population will migrate.

During the winters it is seen that there becomes less availability of the food resources, along with the extreme level of cold to tolerate.

So, crows migrate to get rid of the cold and find a better place to breed during the winter season if the temperature falls below 0°C to -17°C.

So, it is pretty much clear that crows are known to migrate to warm places not just to escape the winter season but also to breed in their best kind of place.

So, when winter comes, not all crows react the same. Meaning that some of the crows of the same population will migrate while others won’t migrate.

This means that many of the crows are partial migrators. So, some will stay in their resident and won’t migrate and will try to withstand the extreme winters.

Others will choose to move to warmer areas, returning only when the cold has faded away.

Those that migrate will go to more warm places where the temperature is more than 15°C. In doing so, they will avoid themselves from the extreme cold and so to get a good place to breed with more food sources available for them.

What attracts crows to an area?

Migratory crows will fly to warm places with better food resources for them during the winter. Those that will breed can definitely migrate.

Migration to far away warm places attracts them because they will be getting more food and better weather conditions in order to mate and breed.

Another reason is that when they will breed, the young ones will be able to grow happily in a warmer environment than the colder environment. That also attracts the crows to migrate to far-away regions during the winters.

Moreover, since the crows are partial migrators it has been seen that not all of the species of crows will migrate. For those that won’t be able to withstand the cold temperature are seen to migrate.

In general, if we talk out of the migration topic, then it is to be noted that any trash, food waste in open compost, pet food, and any kind of food put out for other wild species are all attractive to crows.

Dirty areas like dustbins and garbage dumps attract crows more as they are always in search of food. They are seen to have adapted well to living with humans and eat just about anything.

Most often seen as pests, crows are known for stealing food, pestering other birds and animals, and eating crops.

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