Crows and magpies are a common occurrence in Strathcona County, these birds are unique and each bring their own set of challenges when it comes to co-existence. 


Crows are easily identified by their black feathers, black eyes and easily recognizable call.


Crows are an extremely intelligent, adaptive and wary species. Crows will eat almost anything, but will focus on insects and carrion when available. Crows like to nest in tall tree stands, the abundance of mature tree stands in the County make for great nesting sites. Crows are a migratory bird that spend the winter in warmer climates. During these periods of migration, large flocks of crows will congregate at roosting sites overnight. Often these roosting sites can contain numbers in the hundreds. 

During the spring months while they are nesting, those that get too close to the young birds can be subject to "dive-bombing" by the parents, this will continue until the young leave the nest.  

Coexistence strategies

Controlling crows is difficult. They are not easily trapped like magpies. 

Crow nests can be removed from trees. You can remove the nest if reachable by knocking it down or using other methods like a garden hose to remove old nests and prevent return visits the following year. Removing nests before the eggs are hatched will encourage the bird to settle in a different location. Take caution as other species of birds and their nests are protected and can result in fines if destroyed.

You can shoot crows outside the Special Control Area, Urban Service Area and the Hamlet Policy Area. Please refer to the Firearm Control Bylaw (639.9 KB) .


The black-billed magpie is a colourful bird with a black head, chest and tail. Its belly and shoulders are white; patches of white are also visible on its wings when in flight.


Magpies are intelligent, resourceful and bold birds. If harassed, they become wary of their intruders.

  • Magpies nest in trees, shrubs, willows and even utility poles. They prefer more open areas with islands of trees, such as windrows, which are present on many farms. They also like living along creeks, meadows and near human residences.
  • Their diet consists of grain, corn, carrion, ground-dwelling invertebrates and small mammals. Magpies will also pick through human garbage and pet food.
  • Magpies are all-year residents. During winter, they tend to colonize with other groups of magpies.

Coexistence strategies

Conflicts between humans and magpies occur when magpies frequent a space and cause a nuisance. A number of measures can be taken to minimize this:

  • Keep pet food where it cannot be eaten by magpies and garbage stored properly to prevent scavenging.
  • Keep trees and shrubs in your yard well-groomed, so magpies will not roost in them. Scarecrows can be used, but magpies can become familiar with them unless they are moved around.
  • If magpies are already in an area, frightening devices such as bird bangers and alarms can be used.
  • If the location of a nest is known, you could remove it; chances are the bird will move on. 

Trapping and removal

  • Shooting the birds is also a possible control method, but only outside the Special Control Area, Urban Service Area and Hamlet Policy Area.
  • Trapping is another option; wire mesh traps can be purchased or built and then baited with pet food for live capture of the birds.

More information:

County Connect

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Last updated: Friday, February 16, 2024
Page ID: 50138