Can You Legally Buy a Crow Or A Raven?
How Much Are They?

Crows and ravens are not the most gorgeous birds. But, they are witty and can be great companions! So, is there a way to buy them? – read to find out!

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David A. Swanson

November 21, 2021

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What’s This Post About?

Crows and ravens are not the most visually appealing birds. Surprisingly though, many individuals still enjoy their company because of their abilities and intelligence.

Contrary to popular belief, successfully caring for a pet crow or raven is potentially more challenging and time-consuming than caring for a dog.

If you do conclude that they are perfect for you, the money and effort invested in bringing such a gregarious, clever, and lovely creature into your family will be well worth it.

Buying a crow is not permissible in the United States, except for some breeds that aren’t native to the county. However, they can be purchased for $2000 to $6000. An alternate option is to tend for them through volunteering at wildlife centers or luring them to your gardens and befriending them.


Can You Legally Buy A Crow Or A Raven?

The Migrating Bird Treaty Act protects all migratory birds in the United States.

The MBTA implies that taking/possessing, exporting/importing, transporting, selling/purchasing, or trading any crow or part of a crow such as its wings or eggs or nests without permission is banned. In addition, hunting, killing, capturing, or taking them without permission is also typically prohibited.

You might be wondering why crows and ravens are included when they aren’t typically migratory birds. Although crows don’t usually migrate (only those that stay in the coldest climates do), the Department of the Interior’s Federal Register of Migratory Birds lists every variety of crows you could see.

Given the widespread presence of crows and ravens in the United States, this may appear to be an inconvenient and needless precaution. Still, without it, our native bird species are highly likely to be threatened by persons looking to market novelty pets.

What Happens If You Still Buy A Crow?

A crow is not a pet; it is a wild animal. The laws exist because we always jeopardize the bird by removing it from its natural environment and separating it from its family. Ownership of a crow might result in you being convicted of a crime.

It’s rare but not impossible that they’ll arrest you with such a crime, but you’ll almost certainly be charged and fined. The laws are in place for a purpose, after all. Knowing the rules will hopefully cause individuals to pause and consider their reasons.

Capturing a wild animal and confining it in a cage is both immoral and cruel. Especially in a tiny cell, where you won’t be able to provide it with the continual care and monitoring it requires.

Also, understand that you won’t be able to provide it with medical treatment as no vet would risk their license to treat your illegal crow. As a result, if it ever became ill, you would be solely responsible.


Exceptions To The Law

Some people try to find loopholes around the law. For example, they claim to have found the crow either abandoned or injured. If you come across a crow needing assistance instead of taking it inside the house, contact your local Wildlife Protective Services.

The same goes for a crow that looks abandoned. To begin with, you have no way of knowing whether or not the crow was abandoned. It may be a young bird whose parents are out looking for food. Keeping or containing a native crow is always prohibited, no matter how much you wish to care for it.

If you cannot contact wildlife services and choose to take care of the crow, you will have to acquire a special permit. A Federal Migratory Bird Rehabilitation permit authorizes you to take possession of, relocate, and temporarily keep an ill, wounded, or abandoned crow under the Migratory Bird Act.

To obtain a permit, follow these steps:

  • You should be at least 18 years of age to participate.
  • You must have 100 hours of actual crow rehabilitation experience. Workshops and programs relevant to rehabilitation can account for 20 of the 100 hours.
  • You must have a crow-friendly facility and will be required to submit images and schematics with your license application. The National Wildlife Rehabilitators Association can provide you with the essential requirements.
  • Per physical address, you can only apply for one permit. However, you must identify all of your locations on the license if you provide care at more than one location.
  • The crow may only be kept for 180 days. If it requires more time for recovery, you must apply for an extension at least a month before the license expires.
  • If your state mandates it, you must also obtain state permission or license for rehabilitating migratory birds.
  • If a crow cannot be safely returned to the wild owing to injuries, a center may be permitted to keep it for academic reasons in rare situations.


If you want to take care of crows, you can get accredited as a wildlife Rehabilitator, or you may volunteer at a Wildlife Protection Service in your area.


How Much Do Ravens or Crows Cost?

You can keep a few crow types that aren’t native to the United States and aren’t protected by federal regulations. You can adopt the white-necked raven, the pied crow, as well as a hybrid of the two as pets. They may cost anything from $2,000 to $6000.

The only difference between these birds and the American Crow is that they have some white feathers on their bodies instead of being completely black. Unfortunately, the birds are expensive because they are difficult to come by and are particularly bred. If you still want to have a pet raven or crow, you’ll have to contact a knowledgeable, reliable breeder specializing in white-necked ravens or pied crows.

Since there’s a good chance, you won’t be able to find a local breeder, expect to pay more to export the animal, or for you to travel yourself to where the breeder is.

While the price mentioned above may appear to be exorbitant, it serves as a reminder of one key fact: getting a new pet should never be considered casually or in the spur of the moment. Crows and ravens are highly clever animals that demand special attention.

Things You Should Know Before Buying A Crow Or A Raven

If you choose to keep a non-migratory crow as a pet or adopt one from a wildlife center, be aware that crows are notoriously tough to keep as pets.

You should be mindful of the myriad challenges that come with caring for a crow. Here are some things you must know before you make this decision.

Crows And Ravens Are Wild Animals

Crows are not domestic birds and have a tough time adapting to life without flying properly. In addition, they have complete access to entire wide-open skies in the wild, something you cannot give in your house. Taking a crow from its natural habitat is terrible, and putting them in a cage is even crueler.

They’re also quite clever and have been observed using tools. But, unfortunately, when confined in a cage, their untamed nature combined with their intelligence can cause them to become anxious and indulge in neurotic habits.


Crows And Ravens Are Social Animals

Crows require the company of other crows to be comfortable. During the day, they would usually patrol their region and interact with other crows. When an attacker or a threat appears, they will yell at each other. This might be anything, from a human to a larger animal.

While they may get attached and communicate with people, they are considerably more mentally stable in groups of crows. Even with other animals and people as companionship, living in isolation is a lonely experience for a crow.

Crows And Ravens Need Space

Crows cannot adjust in a cage like a parrot can since they cannot climb. It’s horrible for a crow to be trapped on the ground or in a cage with no chance of getting away.

To maintain a single crow, you’d need an aviary, but few individuals have that much room to dedicate to such activities, much alone the cost of installing one.

Finding Medical Care Will Be Difficult

A sick crow is unlikely to be treated by most veterinarians. Unfortunately, due to federal laws, this might result in them losing their license to practice.

Even if you have a legal bird, such as the Hooded Crow, it may be challenging to locate a veterinarian knowledgeable about how to care for them because they are not often kept as pets.

So, before you choose to get a crow, ask yourself how well do you understand avian health? The chances are that regardless of some knowledge, it will certainly not be enough to fend for a pet crow for the rest of its life without expert assistance.

Crows And Ravens Can Be Noisy

If you’re searching for a pet crow or raven, you’re probably not seeking a gorgeous bird that sings wonderfully in the first place. Even so, you must realize that you’re not only signing up for non-melodious sounds but a lot of noise.

Crows produce loud “croaking” noises, unlike songbirds, and call out to fellow crows all day long. So regardless of whether they’re agitated, hungry, or enthusiastic, they may emit these loud noises.


They Don’t Have Any Specific Food Requirements

Since ravens are scavengers and omnivores, it means that their nutritional requirements are simple. They’ll devour almost everything you put in front of them, including chicken, veggies, fruits, grains, and nuts.


Crows and ravens may not be picky, but they do love unsalted peanuts!

This is possibly the best thing about having a raven as a pet. Even though they can be challenging to manage at times, you can always guarantee that they have a well-balanced meal without having to think about any dietary needs, as you would with other bird species.

Crows And Ravens Can Be Aggressive

If you decide to take ravens into confinement, they might become hostile and protective. In addition, many will have developed relationships with their group by this time, and it’s doubtful they will accept human ownership.

This implies that it’s nearly always best to obtain a raven when it’s young and raise it so that it recognizes you as its owner and becomes gentler, and is at ease around you.

Ravens aren’t aggressive by nature, yet they are fiercely protective. When they feel intimidated, they are known to attack humans, and because of their big overall size, the bites aren’t small pecks.


Crows And Ravens Can Be Messy

One of the challenges of keeping a raven as a pet is the raven’s high degree of curiosity. The problem is that their curiosity and investigation are frequently rather destructive; they can get into sealed things such as cabinets and drawers and will break open almost everything.

They are also renowned for enjoying shiny goods, implying that jewelry, keys, decorations, and any other precious object with a gleaming surface are likely to grab their eye.

As a result of their insatiable curiosity, they frequently make a lot of mess and/or damage when hunting about, and costly goods can quickly go missing.


You can try to persuade yourself that your house would be more pleasant than a crow's natural environment. But you would be deceiving yourself. Crows are very bright and sociable animals. A crow without companions or independence is prone to get restless and lonely.


Befriend Crows Without Buying Them

Crows are charming, engaging, and entertaining companions. However, rather than attempting to acquire and own the crow, you may simply befriend it and allow it to live its normal existence in the wilderness within its own crow community.

Instead of buying crows or ravens, you can try volunteering at a local wildlife rehabilitation center and receiving training to become a rehabilitator. It’s a fantastic chance to get close up and personal with a wild bird like a crow while also assisting damaged creatures.

You can also make your yard attractive for these birds to observe them from close without breaking laws or taking up huge responsibilities. There are several ways you can lure crows to your yard.

Establish A Feeding Routine

Ravens and crows have an excellent memory. If you put out food for them at the same time and preferably at the same location, they are most likely to remember you. As a result, they will eventually register your face as a friend and eliminate you as a threat.


Crows and ravens like softening their food with water before consuming it. Remember to place a bowl of water nearby.


Remove Potential Threats From Your Yard

Ravens are intelligent animals who prefer to avoid the risks offered by other animals such as dogs and cats. As a result, make sure your dogs don’t bother them when they’re visiting.

Also, remove anything that makes a lot of noise since this will scare them away. A lawn sprayer or a wheelbarrow are two such examples.

Place Fake Ravens/Crows

Crows are sociable birds that flock together to rest and feed. They will follow other crows to their resting and foraging places. To take advantage of this swarm thinking, hang one or two fake crows  about your yard. When they see one crow resting or foraging in your backyard, other crows will likely follow suit.

These life-size crows are perfectly suited for the outdoors, in the garden, or on the deck railing.

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Plant Trees Or Install Shelves

Crows use trees as relaxing spots and occasionally even as nesting sites. If you don’t have any trees or only have a few, you may build a few wooden shelves and have them fixed against the wall or on ledges. Make sure they’re high. This will provide a place for the crows to rest in the yard, allowing you to view them better.


Keep Reading!

Crows are highly clever birds with distinct personalities, yet their unusual behavior and federal laws make it challenging to keep them as pets.

Even without laws and difficulties, acquiring a crow can be quite expensive. However, if you adore crows and find them intriguing, you may “legally” keep them by establishing a crow-friendly habitat in your garden where you can watch them in the wild.

Now that you know whether or not you can keep these birds as a pet, read to find out whether captivity affects their lifespan!

How Long Do Crows Live? Wild Vs. Captivity! Averages And Records

Amazed to see the massive population of crows around you? Contemplating how long do these aggressive yet brainy birds live? Read on to find out!

David A. Swanson Picture

By David A. Swanson

Bird Watching USA

My name is David and I'm the the founder of Bird Watching USA! I started Bird Watching with My father-in-law many years ago, and I've become an addict to watching these beautiful creatures. I've learnt so much over about bird watching over the years that I want to share with the world everything I know about them!

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David A. Swanson Picture

David A. Swanson

Bird Watching USA

My name is David and I'm the the founder of Bird Watching USA! I started Bird Watching with My father-in-law many years ago, and I've become an addict to watching these beautiful creatures. I've learnt so much over about bird watching over the years that I want to share with the world everything I know about them!



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