When you put out your new CrowBox, you must begin waiting for local corvids to notice it and eventually approach it in order to interact. We call this process “discovery,” and this article explains how to find a place for your CrowBox that should help corvids in your area discover it quickly.
This article assumes that your CrowBox will be set up somewhere on a piece of property around a home or apartment building, but setting up a CrowBox in any environment is pretty much the same - you just need to consider the environmental conditions that are likely to help or hinder the discovery process.
We have learned that the most important element for success in discovery is making sure that corvid visitors have a good opportunity to observe the CrowBox from a nearby safe place, which we call a “vantage point.” Corvids will be curious about the CrowBox and they will want to visit to investigate the possibility of receiving food, but the corvid species that we have worked with are often reluctant to fly directly to a new CrowBox and land on it.
But they will take advantage of nearby trees, shrubs, fences, power lines and so on to work their way closer to the CrowBox to get a better look at it. You should encourage this behavior by planning to place your CrowBox near some of these “natural” vantage points.
In an area without good natural vantage points, such as a large empty field, you will have to provide some vantage points of your own. Just about anything a bird will land on will work, but the number one rule of a good vantage point is:
- Be sure the vantage point is above the CrowBox.
Corvids will want a good look at the place where they are thinking of landing, and since they are meant to land on top of the CrowBox, nearby vantage points should provide a clear view of the top of the CrowBox. Perhaps the simplest handmade vantage point is a pole driven into the ground with a simple horizontal perch attached.
Now that you know how to pick a spot which provides good vantage points, you next need to think about the handful of environmental elements which should be avoided. These are pretty obvious- if it might frighten a bird, it’s bad for your CrowBox. These are usually human constructs which move or make noise unexpectedly. Avoid placing your CrowBox near air conditioning units, moving gates, sprinkler systems, busy streets, etc.
Other factors to consider include dogs or cats that might wander through, weather conditions (like wind), or access by malicious actors (i.e., squirrels.)
All of which isn’t intended to scare you from putting the box where you have a good view of it - the main thing is to try to find an optimal place for corvids to view, consider, and eventually use the box.
Finally, keep in mind that placement isn’t necessarily permanent. You may need to move the box several times over the course of its lifetime of use, so don’t go pouring concrete just yet. Get it out in the best place you can find, and then adjust based on how the birds react.