Ravens & Crows as Pets? 9 Things You Need To Know

Raven and crows are popular due to their mystical and dark appearance. But can they be kept legally as pets? Let’s find out.

Can I keep a raven or a crow as a pet? Not legally. Because it is a migratory bird and needs to be able to fly over long distances twice every year. But you can attract them to your garden and form a friendship. They are one of the most intelligent birds on the planet and can learn to recognize and appreciate you over time.

Gif of a crowThing To Consider Before Choosing Ravens And Crows As Pets

The main reason people like to keep a Crow or a Raven is the pet is because they are very intelligent. This is a point we will get back to in a bit.

Before you go out and try to catch a Raven or a Crow in order to keep it as a pet and there are a few things we think you should consider.

They are wild birds

Ravens and crows are wild birds. This means they belong in nature and will probably not behave well inside a cage even if it is huge and placed outside.

So you shouldn’t expect a crow or a raven to sit inside a little bird box all day and wait for you to come home from school to play with it.

They have been reported to live more than 20 years and sometimes even 30 years. When you combine this information with the fact that they are very social creatures you see why they can become a huge responsibility.

Even if you manage to rescue a tiny Crow and you decide to care for it you need to guide it back into nature within a recent timeframe. Otherwise, it will not be able to form family bonds with other Crows.

These family bonds are really important to Crows as they live in groups. Being excluded from the company of other Crows is probably one of the worst things that can happen to this bird.

Crow looking at you with dark black eyes

They can do a nasty bite

Ravens have a super strong bite.

They can even crush a small bone.

But normally they will not bite humans. They will often just do a little warning nip it in the finger. But if you’re not careful or if the Ravens really get angry it can do a nasty bite.

You will be able to pull the beak apart but you’re probably don’t want to. You should just wait it out because it will not bite you for long. As soon as they notice that you are leaving they will leave you alone.

You should never get close to Raven nest (or any pet nest for that matter). These are the places where people tend to get bitten and the Raven can become pretty aggressive. The same thing goes for Crows and other bigger birds.

They can be noisy

They do not sing like other birds. They have a more squeaking type of call which is not really that beautiful.

But if you’re looking for a Crow or Raven as a pet you are probably not looking for a pretty bird that sings beautifully anyway. Am I right?

Crows can do a lot of different sounds really but normally they will do a little gurgling croak that mostly sounds like an alarming call. Ravens, on the other hand, can do more sophisticated sounds that sounds more melodic.

But Before you set out to become the local ravenmaster of your neighborhood you should be aware that they tend to call and shout out to each other over long distances.

When the Raven calls for another bird you can hear the sound from miles distance. So you might not become very popular if you do what you can to attract all the Ravens and Crows from your local area to reside in your garden.

They do not live alone (well)

Ravens and the wild have been obsessed to work in pairs of two.

They are very territorial and together they will “reign” over their domain. This is also why you will hear them shout and call out to each other over long distances.

They will normally look over each part of the territory and communicate with each other during the day. They will shout to each other whenever an enemy or a thread occurs. This can be anything from a human being or a bigger animal.

Black Racen Looking For Food

They require lots of space

You can under no circumstances keep this bird indoor.

As we mentioned above it is a wild bird and it needs a lot of space in order to jump around from pole to pole and feel like it’s the master of its territory.

As all other territory birds, they like to fly over long distances and feel like they are in charge of their domain. So you probably wouldn’t be able to keep them on your property unless you have a huge property or piece of land.

If you somehow managed to lock up at Raven or Crow inside a cage it will get very bored quickly. Remember that this is one of the most intelligent birds on the planet. It will definitely not have a good life inside the cage and it will not be satisfied by pecking around inside a cage.

At least, it will require a big outdoor aviary. But in nature, these birds prefer to fly over longer distances to keep watch of their territory.

You need a special permit

In the United States, you need a special permit to keep a Crow at your property as a pet. The same goes if you find a Crow in nature which needs special attention or care in order to survive.

That being said, you probably won’t get in much trouble because this is something that is not paid a lot of attention to.

If somebody chooses to reports you and it comes to their attention that you are keeping at Crow the authorities might confiscate the bird. According to Crows.net, you may be subject to federal penalties but in most cases, no one will bother you.

The reason why it’s illegal to keep a Crow or a Raven as a pet is that it is a migratory bird.

These birds are all protected under the migratory bird act from 1918. This act is made to protect birds that travel over long distances to lay eggs or simply travel to warmer territories during the winter.

If you want to obtain a special permit to keep Crows or Ravens as pets you will need a very good reason.

It’s not enough to write a long letter to let the authorities know how experienced you are with birds or how well you can take care of it. You will need to apply from a nature reserve, a wildlife rehabilitation center or another special care center for birds.

Crow sitting on a roof top in a city

This Is How You Could “Keep” Them As Pets

After reading all the information above you probably understand why it’s not a good idea to keep these wonderful birds as a pet.

What you could do instead is to provide food for it and try to lure it into visiting you once in a while.

If you have several encounters with Ravens or Crows over a long period of time it will recognize you and you can become friends. But you need to give it a lot of times because you need to build up trust. These birds normally see human beings as dangerous and as threats.

Here are a few tips on how to attract a Crow to your garden

  1. Feed them at a set time (daily)
    They are scavengers and like to eat what they can find. You should feed them early in the morning or late in the evening as these are the times they prefer to eat. You should always keep a piece of meat in the garden but be aware that it might attract other animals you don’t want visiting.
  2. Have eggs in the garden
    They like to eat eggs. So by placing a few eggs and your garden you might attract their attention.
  3. Make your garden safe for them
    Make sure not to have any other pets like cats and dogs in the garden. You should also get rid of anything that makes noise and anything else that could resemble a threat to them. This could be things like a shovel or a wheelbarrow.
  4. They like trees
    Like other birds, Crows and Ravens prefer to sit in trees. So make sure you have some nice trees for them to land on because they will only go down on the lawn once in a while to pick up food or an egg.
  5. Place small shiny objects around the garden
    As you might know, these birds like to catch shiny objects. Anything small that can reflect the sun up to the air to catch their attention as they pass by your house.
  6. Place a fake Raven
    You can also buy a fake plastic Raven or Crow and place it in the garden. Maybe one or two up in the trees and one in the garden to catch their attention. As we mentioned above, they like the company of their own kind and tend to live in pairs. As they see the fake bird in your garden it might trick them into thinking your garden is the perfect place to hang out.

If you follow all of these tips and you do have Crows or Ravens naturally around your area you should be good to go.

Eventually, one of these wonderful birds should find your garden. Over time it will get used to landing in your trees and find it easy to feed on the food you laid out.

But again, you need patience. These birds are wild animals and they will not get anywhere near something that looks like a threat to them!

How Intelligent Are Crows And Ravens?

Oh my, VERY intelligent!

Gross and ravens are some of the most intelligent animals on the planet. They have even demonstrated self-awareness in front of mirrors where they could recognize themselves!

They have also been known for a long time to be able to make tools out of wood. Something we only thought humans and a few other mammals could do.

They actually have a pretty large brain according to that body mass. Their brain is only slightly smaller than the human brain when you’re comparing it to the size and body mass of the bird. So it’s no wonder they are really intelligent and able to do a very complicated task and simple calculations.

Beautiful raven with dark and black feathers

Ravens can show emotion

The Tower of London has a Ravenmaster to look after 6 Ravens (more on that below).

He reports that Ravens have the ability to show several emotions like:

  • Anger
  • Sadness
  • Pain
  • Frustration
  • Excitement

He also tells that the first show individual character traits. This means that they behave differently and they have their own personalities. This also makes sense when you think about how intelligent they are.

What’s The Difference Between Crows And Ravens?

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Are Crows And Ravens Related?

Yes. They both belong to the bird family called Corvid. The corvids are also often referred to as just “crows” or “the crow family”. The more correct and technical term is Corvids.

The Corvids include:

  • Crows
  • Jays
  • Ravens
  • Magpies
  • Rooks
  • Jackdaws
  • Treepies
  • Choughs
  • Nutcrackers

They all are really intelligent as we have mentioned above. This is something that is true for all corvid birds.

Where Do Ravens And Crows Live Naturally?

Raymond’s and crows are found almost all over the world. The only places you wouldn’t find these types of birds are in South America and around the ice poles.

The majority of the Corvids live around the tropical south of Central America, South Asia, and we also have a lot of species around Africa and Australia.

They are pretty good at flying long distances so several Ravens have also been found in oceanic Islands.

Raven caught in flight

How To Become A Ravenmaster

At the Tower of London, you find a so-called “ravenmaster”.

It’s a very unique and special job. It’s a one man’s job and we haven’t found any other places to have this job. So you will have to be very lucky if you want to be a ravenmaster.

Here you can see a Twitter post from the current ravenmaster:


Christopher Skaife has had this job for more than three years and is probably a job you will have for a very long time. He is a British military veteran but the story does not report anything about how that was relevant to him getting the job as ravenmaster.

 

Sources: fws.gov,

Morten Storgaard

I love pets and I've had several pets including hamsters, reptiles, birds, and fish. I have written extensively about pets and educational content about wild animals.

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