When the replacement corn planting emerged, I guarded the sprouts all weekend long. In my experience, they’re most vulnerable before their leaves start unfolding.
My gospel warned me that even though I treated the corn seed, I still might lose some sprouts: “It stands to reason that if a bird has established the habit of digging up seed corn for food, it will continue to destroy a certain amount of seed by digging it up, before becoming discouraged with the locality for furnishing a meal.”
I thought when the second leaves unfurled, I could relax my watch.
I’m researching further options.
Allies: From contemporary Cornell information, I learn that a Great Horned Owl would be an “important predator on crows and nestling.” Hawks and eagles eat crows too, as do “snakes, raccoons, and man,” according to the sources of Fairfax County Public Schools. And recipes make crow edible, perhaps.
Vigilante action: Fifty years before Cornell published their pine-tar recommendation, an 1858 tale entitled “A Legend of Crow Hill” described Hans Vanderdonk, who “among the flocks of crows…waged a continual war.” Hans had many strings to his bow: “A hundred bits of tin, wood, and looking glass”, “numerous scarecrows”, “a successful shot with a long gun.” This is my favorite: “Sometimes he made the crows drunk on corn soaked in whiskey, and as they reeled about the hillocks knocked them on the head.”
Legal recourse: I could draft a cease-and-desist, maybe. In True Grit, Rooster Cogburn (John Wayne) tried that on a different species with the same palate: he read a rat a writ.