Midsummer murders: ‘Menacing crows’ feast on Munster fodder stocks

A population of “menacing crows” is wreaking havoc on fodder stocks in Co. Limerick, according to Eddie Ryan, cathaoirleach of the Municipal District of Cappamore-Kilmallock.

The Fianna Fail councillor told AgriLand that the murder of crows in his area has “increased threefold” over the last few years. He says the situation is have a frustrating impact on farming in the region.

Ryan, who is feeding cattle and who also has 3.5ac of linseed and oats planted as wild bird cover, says the large black birds are “eating into” his winter fodder supplies.

The crows don’t touch it until it’s lodged and when it’s on the ground there’s an invasion. They get months of eating out of it; they’re in eating it every day.

“I have a meal feeder in the field for the cattle and the crows can get in if the cover is damaged and clear the meal in a day,” he said.

Crow Damage

Commenting on the damage crows can do to fodder Ryan explained: “Damage to bales is just chaotic.”

I had 166 bales made at 9:00pm one night and I started drawing them in at 6:00am the following morning – but by then, every one of them had been damaged.

He explained that some people think the birds are attracted to “something moving” on the bales – but Ryan believes they are eating insects.

The issue came up at a meeting of the Cappamore-Kilmallock Municipal District after the environmental director made a presentation on noise pollution.

Ryan outlined that the noise from crow-nesting areas is particularly significant from around 4:00am in the morning.

Calves ‘spooked’

He also remarked that he has seen situations where young calves are intimidated by the presence of the crows and, as a result, they are reluctant about coming to eat their nuts.

The crows fly over them low and the calves get spooked; they will keep away from the nuts as the crows take over.

On a more extreme note, he also added that he has seen magpies getting in on the act.

“This is no joke now, I’ve seen magpies stand on the trough and pick the calves on the face to keep them away from the nuts,” he said.

Although Ryan outlined how “menacing” the crows can be, he said he would never harm the creatures.

I planted 3.5ac of wild-bird cover for the birds to eat, and that does not exclude crows.

“Crows, magpies, seagulls and pigeons are all turning out to be a menace across the country this year; but, having said that, it’s something between us and them. We just have to try to manage it and we will all live happier together,” Ryan concluded.