We have seen crows collecting stones. They can steal different things, such as food and eggs, from other birds’ nests and coins or key chains outside your house.
Why Do Crows Carry Stones? Crows carry stones because they gift the shiny stones to humans, swallow them because they help digest hard food, and use them for nut-breaking. They can play with these stones and are curious about such objects. Moreover, they use tiny rocks as a tool in different problem-solving techniques.
People often observe these birds carrying different objects in their beaks and fly to their nests. They think crows use stones to build their nests but do not use tiny rocks and pebbles in nest construction.
Why would crows carry stones?
Crows can steal objects, carry them to different places, or put them inside their nests as decoration pieces. People also consider these birds as thieves because they find them stealing key chains or coins from their yards or houses.
Gift for humans
Crows like to communicate with humans and other birds because they have a social nature and share information with each other. They can become friends with humans and bring gifts if they feed the crows daily and behave nicely with them.
They can give shiny and colorful stones to humans as gifts and communicate with them in their way. People offer different eatables to these birds, and they often visit the yard or house to get their favorite food.
They search for food and fly from one place to another. They can pick up the small shiny pebbles and bring them to the person feeding them daily.
Sometimes, they bring other objects they find while playing and flying to their nests. They can remember the faces for a long time and return to the locations where they get food from humans.
Help in digestion
Crows and many other birds can eat small stones because they help the crows digest hard food items, such as seeds, nuts, and other hard-shelled grains.
Their digestive system has a muscular part called the gizzard, which grinds the hard food particles and makes it easy for the stomach to digest them.
Crows pass the food items they eat into the gizzard, and the stones collect in this stomach part to grind the hard-shelled grains, seeds, and nuts.
These rocks become smooth and constantly rubbed together with each other and the food to digest without much effort.
The gizzard muscles rub them together, and the friction causes the food to break down into smaller particles, which then pass into the small intestine for further digestion.
Moreover, carnivores and birds that eat larger animals and insects rely on these small pebbles in their stomach to grind and digest the hard food items.
Sometimes, crows can mistake the tiny rocks for food items, such as seeds or nuts, and pick up these pebbles from the ground or yard.
Moreover, they can drop the stones on nuts with hard shells to break them because they cannot break the hard nuts with their beaks, and they do not have teeth in their mouth.
They want to eat the inside food with more nutrients instead of the hard exterior because there are no nutritional benefits for these birds in nut skin.
Crows are intelligent species and know how to eat and reach tasty food, such as nuts, animal flesh, and insects. They break the food items using their sharp mind and different techniques.
Playful and curious nature
Crows have a curious nature about things around their surroundings, such as food items and other shiny objects.
They often play with each other, especially with the family members or siblings. They can carry the stones and pick the small pebbles from the ground while playing with each other.
The young crows are observed playing with each other with tiny stones in their beaks. They are more curious than adult and experienced birds and pick different objects from the ground.
Attract the attention of fellows
They can also pick up colorful and small stones to attract the attention of other birds and carry the tiny rocks around the food source, which shows the food availability.
Crows with stones in their beaks attract the attention of other birds, and they become curious about them, which leads to social interaction between these birds.
Crows will investigate and look for the reasons if they observe a group of fellows carrying a colorful or bright stone in their beak, as it gives signals about something and wants to attract their attention.
Crows have intelligent minds and exceptional cognitive and problem-solving skills. These skills and cognitive abilities help the birds to survive in different situations.
For example, all of us have heard about the Thirsty Crow story, where a crow used its problem-solving techniques to raise the water level.
They use these skills to solve different daily life problems and thrive in changing climates and habitats.
They recognize these as problem-solving tools and use them in different situations, such as reaching the food source or breaking the hard-shelled seeds and nuts.
How do crows carry stones?
Crows do not have teeth and hands; therefore, they pick them with their beaks and fly away to different places. They have a tongue that helps them to swallow the eatables and hold food products in their mouth.
They pick up pebbles, leaves, twigs, stones, and other small objects with their beaks and sometimes use one of their feet to access different things.
They are sharp and know how to deal with different situations. They do not grind the food or tiny rock pieces with their beaks and do not have teeth; therefore, they swallow these things directly into their stomach or gizzard, where the digestion process starts.
Do stones remain in Crow Gizzard forever?
Crows eat the stones without grinding them in their mouth because they have an expandable esophagus, which allows the food to pass without any problem.
They remain in their stomach as long as the sharpness of these rocky objects grinds the hard eatables well inside the gizzard.
They will vomit or throw pebbles through their mouth when they lose their sharpness and become too soft to pulverize the food.
There is no specific time for how long the stones remain in their stomach because it depends on the diet and digestive system of the crow species.
They replace the soft and less effective tiny rocks with stones that have rough edges and can pulverize the food more efficiently so their stomach does not need to work hard to digest the food.
What size stones do crows eat and carry?
Crows have beaks, and the size of their beaks or bills can vary from one species to another as some birds have small and less sharp beaks, while others have large and sharp beaks.
They can carry stones according to their beak size, but mostly, they pick, carry, and eat small rocks and pebbles because they cannot hold larger objects for a long time or during flight.
Different documentaries show these birds can pick up tinny ricks with their beaks and sometimes consume them to make the digestive system more efficient.
The large pieces of rocks can lodge in their esophagus and cause various problems, such as they feel difficulty in breathing and their throats choked with the large pebbles.
Therefore, they are selective and more attentive about what size stones they can conveniently carry and swallow without choking themselves.
What damages can crows cause by dropping stones?
Crows can cause many problems if there is over-population of these birds in your areas, such as they can damage various objects on your property or outside the house.
They can drop the stones in their beaks on the solar plates on your roof, which causes cracks or scratches on these solar panels.
They can also drop small rocks on your car parked outside the building and sit on the building top with stone in their beak.
They drop these hard objects on your car, which cause scratches or sometimes hairline cracks on mirrors if they throw them from too high buildings.
The stones they drop while sitting on the yard trees can cause injury to your head if you are standing or sitting under the same tree.