Relationship between crows and turkeys?

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Relationship between crows and turkeys?

Postby Duke0002 » February 19th, 2011, 3:43 am

What have you observed and come to believe about the relationship between crows and turkeys?  
Is there anything more to it than crows' simple instinct of wanting to harass a larger bird?

Thanks.  I'm interested in your thoughts.

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RE: Relationship between crows and turkeys?

Postby WillowRidgeCalls » February 19th, 2011, 4:20 am

The harassing part about sums it up, I use crows for locating birds when they are quiet. They tend to follow turkeys around harassing them, I've never been able to use a crow call for locating birds unless the bird is red hot and gobbles at anything that makes a noise. I'm not saying that a crow call doesn't work for locating birds, just I haven't seen it yet on the birds I hunt, no matter who's call I use.

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RE: Relationship between crows and turkeys?

Postby NMblackgold » February 19th, 2011, 4:53 am

In the Pinon/Pine forests that I hunt in NM, here are my observations of crows (I actually believe they are Ravens) reacting to decoy sets and calling:

-They are instantaneously attracted to the yelping of a Wild Turkey.

-They are not attracted to clucking, purring, or gobbling of a Wild Turkey.

-Crows (Ravens?) do not appear to attack or pester Wild Turkeys.

-Crows do a single, slow, low, flyover and land on a nearby perch to observe turkeys for long periods of time.

-Crows to do not "circle above" turkeys for long periods of time.

-Single crows are more common that multiple crows arriving at a decoy setup.

I have no idea what the relationship between the two are:

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RE: Relationship between crows and turkeys?

Postby mark hay » February 19th, 2011, 9:51 am

I too have seen some of the things you fellers have already mentioned . I believe ( from hunting crows) that they have eyesight and hearing right up there with the turkey . Harassing is their goal in life , at least it appears that way to me .
 Two years ago in the fall season I was making a half circle walk through timber to get in on a big flock of longbeards . Roost time was about an hour and a half away . I new where the turkeys were roosting and attempted to get between them and the roost . I almost made it when along comes a flock of crows . The turkeys were feeding along the edge of a field . I could see the crows diving at the turkeys and the noise was great .  Never mind about my hunt [:D],,I messed up .
 This past fall I had crows come to my long strings of yelping . I heard them coming and went silent and remained very still . The crows left after only a moment . After a few minutes of silence I did some more yelping only to have the crows return .
 I do think crows are set on bullying or harassing about anything in the woods . Have seen them diving at coyotes . Countless times I've had them come to prey sounds while fox or coyote hunting. This past fall I shot a button buck during the regular gun season . It had started snowing right after daylight and the ground turned white rapidly . Around 9:00 I shot the deer . Made a near bad shot too. I pulled to far back on the lungs . The little deer took off striagth for a big cedar thicket . Bleeding from its sides and nose /mouth it was making a very easy blood trail . As soon as it was hit and ran I moved to where the deer had been standing at the shot . As I trailed the deer the crows picked up on the activity . I was moving silently whereas the deer was trying to run and gained the attention of the black predators . They raised all kind of racket as they would dive down to the cedar tops and moved across the woods with the deer . The deer probably died in a couple minutes and you know how far they can run in two minutes . The crows didn't let up till the deer expired under a cedar . I believe the crows went to the noise of the deer running . But I believe they went crazy with the sight of the blood on the deer and ground .
 Ever notice those scout crows ? Every one I've seen was very big , which leads me to believe they have some age on them. They rarely caw,,,generally just cruising from spot to spot doing their recon work .
 Just prior to the last falls turkey season I would go down to the public land and do some harassing of my own . A two-track winds through a big cedar thicket . It allowed me to move silently and pretty much unseen . I would get the crows fired up righ off the roost and generally kill one in one spot then move out through some hardwoods and set up and call again from a fields edge . With my back to the woods and the field of standing corn in front I had another good spot to call from . I began my calling and soon spot the scout coming in sliently . He disappeared behind the trees to my left and I took up calling again. Soon here comes about five loudmouth crows . I stood still till they were inside 12 ga. range and mounted and fired . I rolled the crow but he still had his wings . I fired the second barrel and dropped him . Of course the remainder turned tail and left quickly. I just stood still for several minutes thinking about how it all happened and the shooting . I had reloaded as quietly as possible , and simply dropped my empty hulls at my feet . I finally bent down to retrieve the hulls and stepped out of the cover . Looking to my left I see the scout . He had been sitting in a tree on the woods edge watching the whole show . He sat there, not over 40 yards , with two shots fired in his general direction and watched his partner drop dead onto the woods floor . But , he never flew until he saw me move ,,,perty sharp bird I'd say.

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RE: Relationship between crows and turkeys?

Postby 1Morgan » February 19th, 2011, 9:57 am

If the gobblers are quiet, I follow the crows. They might be on a flock, a hog, a deer, or whatever...but that is more than I am on. I think they hate everything in the woods.
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RE: Relationship between crows and turkeys?

Postby DeanoZ » February 19th, 2011, 11:07 am

Just out of curiosity and based on ya'lls experience, when they are cawing/harrising the turkeys how close do the normally get to the turkeys?  When the birds are silent I've followed the crows, seen them perched high on a tree cawing at something and looking in a general direction...only to find no sign of a turkey..even when they appear to be oriented towards an open field.

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RE: Relationship between crows and turkeys?

Postby mark hay » February 19th, 2011, 12:54 pm

Crows cawing is a common , generally all day affair . It's easy to tell when they are excited since they tend to get louder and all are cawing at once . Just because they are excited doesn't necessarily mean they are after turkeys . They will do it at about anything they are harassing .

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RE: Relationship between crows and turkeys?

Postby Turkeybuster » February 19th, 2011, 2:40 pm

A crow and a yelping turkey have almost the same cadence in their calling this may be some of the reason why a crow will check you out when you are calling?
Not sure just saying.


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RE: Relationship between crows and turkeys?

Postby Treerooster » February 19th, 2011, 3:06 pm

I have never observed this turkey/crow relationship a lot of hunters talk about. IME crows pretty much go about their daily business unless they see a hawk, or an eagle, or an owl. Then they make a pretty good fuss. Never really observed crows harassing turkeys. Have observed them harass a bobcat and coyotes but not with the intensity of an owl or hawk/eagle.

I have had turkeys shock gobble to a crow call, but not very often. The few I have heard gobble were in the mood to gobble at just about anything.

I have had crows land by me while I called to turkeys or was just cold calling. But it seemed to me they were just moving through the forest as crows normally do. They stop a bit and look things over, probably looking for a meal, and then move on to the next area and check it out.

This past fall I arrowed a deer and it fell just out of my sight.I wasn't sure it fell there and was waiting 20 to 30 minutes before I picked up the trail. It wasn't 10 minutes and here flew a crow right over where the deer was. He did a quick turn in the air and landed where he could see the deer. Along came several more crows and all landed nearby. I figured they were looking at my deer so I just sat and watched. It took them about 20 minutes, but a couple of them finally landed on the carcass and probably tried to feed on it. They didn't stay real long (mabye 10 minutes on the deer) and moved on. Mabey there wasn't enough of a hole exposed for them to feed.

I used to hunt crows and once we got one we would spread it out where other crows could see it. They readily come in to a fallen crow. Made for some real neat shooting as they would dive in near the spread out crow. Calling with 2 quick caws and then 2 long ones brought in new crows with regularity. Like caw caw...caaaaaaw caaaaaaw. Several years ago I was grouse hunting and a flock of crows were flying by. I dropped one with a quick shot and just stood there. Several other crows came in to the fallen crow and some perched nearby for a little while until they spotted me.

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RE: Relationship between crows and turkeys?

Postby shaman » February 20th, 2011, 12:37 am

I have not made as much of a study of this crow/turkey thing as some of y'all.

Being a shaman and all that, I'm used to having spirit messengers in my life.   It was funny,  back in 2002, we had the state wildlife biologist out to look at the place.  I was taking him around the back of the property and he suddenly stopped and pointed to a tree.

"Look!" he said.  "There's a hawk!"

"Oh him." I said.  "Don't pay any attention to him.  We're not talking to each other these days."  I'm sure he thought I was nuts.  However, that particular hawk, had been following me around the farm everywhere I went.  When we first met, I'd called to him and I guess I'd piqued his curiosity.  I'd call and he'd call back.  Then one day he got tired of the game or honked off at what I'd said to him and started flying off whenever I'd call to him, only to follow me at a distance.  I figured that if I ignored him, he might continue to follow me, and he had.

The point is birds can have funny ways about them, and crows especially.  It is my belief that crows have the rudiments of culture.  That is, there are behavior patterns in crows that will persist in an area for many generations, but you won't see that behavior anywhere else.  They're quite intelligent.

I have never hunted the crows on my farm, and over the years they have come to recognize that we're not a danger to them. There are two games the crows play around our farm.  One is "I found the hunter!"  Early in the morning, if I am out in my turkey blind  or up in a tree stand, a crow will come by and sit on a limb  and call boisterously to the others and then take off.  There will be a few others that come by and fly over, as though they're checking on the first's claim, but then I am pretty much left alone.   It's funny, but now that Moose has come of age and hunts on his own, I can usually tell where he is just from the crows. They pinpoint his stand some mornings as good as a GPS.

The other game is "Here come the turkeys!"  This one requires several crows to play.  This usually happens after a round of "I found the hunter!"    Basically a flock of turkeys will break cover and come out into the field to feed.  As soon as they do, several crows will sound off as if they're announcing the arrival of the turkeys.  The crows are all located in about the same spot, so it appears they have gathered in anticipation of the event.

I've wondered if the two games are sort of linked.  What I mean is these crows seem intent on finding me and then announcing the turkeys.  Do they see the possibilities?  Could they be warning me?  The turkeys?   I'm not sure.  What I do know is the "Here come the turkeys!" calling pattern is kind of unique.  It is not something you hear quite the same way under any other circumstance.  It always comes from the general direction of where turkeys have roosted and flown down and it always precedes turkeys showing up in a pasture.
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