American Crow

7 Birds That Are Attracted To Shiny Objects And Why?

Shiny baubles and gleaming objects have a mesmerizing allure, not only for us, but also for some of nature’s most fascinating creatures – birds. In this illuminating journey, we’ll uncover 7 birds that are attracted to shiny objects, from sparkling chimes to shimmering coins. Delve into the intriguing reasons behind their enchantment with all that sparkles.

Why Do Birds Like Shiny Things?

Birds are attracted to shiny things for various reasons, including courtship behavior, food, curiosity, and nesting material.

Courtship behavior: Some bird species, such as bowerbirds, use shiny objects as part of their elaborate courtship rituals. Male bowerbirds build intricate nests called bowers and decorate them with shiny objects to attract females. The shiny objects serve as visual displays to impress potential mates.

Food: Some birds are attracted to shiny objects because they resemble the appearance of certain types of food, such as insects or fish scales. The reflective nature of shiny objects may mimic the movement and appearance of prey, making them attractive to birds that feed on such food sources.

Curiosity: Birds are naturally curious creatures and are often drawn to new and interesting things in their environment. Shiny objects, with their reflective surfaces, can catch the attention of birds and pique their curiosity. This curiosity may lead them to investigate and interact with the shiny objects.

Nesting material: Some bird species collect shiny objects, such as bits of foil or plastic, to use as nesting material. These objects may be incorporated into the construction of their nests, providing structural support or insulation. Additionally, shiny objects may also serve as visual cues to attract potential mates or signal the presence of an occupied nest.

It is important to note that while these reasons explain why birds are attracted to shiny objects, not all bird species exhibit this behavior. The attraction to shiny objects can vary among different bird species and individuals within a species.

Birds That Are Attracted To Shiny Objects

Blue Jay

Blue Jay
Photo by Karen F from Pexels

The Blue Jay is a bird native to eastern North America. It breeds in both deciduous and coniferous forests, but primarily lives in deciduous trees near open fields or residential areas. Blue Jays are known to be attracted to shiny things. These birds are easy to be attracted by reflective things such as bits of tin foil or keys to coins.

They have been seen pecking at aluminum cans and even discarded automobile trim, not realizing that these objects were not food. While the blue jay may seem like a nuisance for some people, it is actually just trying to find something edible. They have a fascination with anything that is bright, especially if it is moving quickly in their direction​​​​​​​.

American Crow

American Crow
Photo by Janik on Unsplash

The American Crow is a large, black bird that can be found in North America. The crow lives mainly on land, but will also spend time living near water sources such as rivers or lakes. This bird has a very distinct voice, and they are the most common corvid in North America. These birds have also been known to live as long as 8 years!

Crows love shiny things such as keys, coins, anything metal; which is why you’ll often find them picking through your garbage or stealing your food. It’s not uncommon to see a crow fly down and grab something reflective from the ground, even the foil from a gum wrapper can get their attention.

Eurasian Magpie

black-billed magpie
Image by plonk66 from Pixabay

Magpies are a black and white bird that can be found all over the world. They have a beautiful plumage, with glossy feathers and bright colors. They also chatter, which is something you will notice when they fly overhead or walk across your lawn. They are mostly known for their penchant for stealing shiny objects, but this reputation isn’t completely deserved.

It’s true that they do sometimes take shiny things back to their nest, but it’s not because they want to steal them; instead, these birds become scared when people come near and fly away with whatever items were on the ground at the time, so they can take it back and inspect it further. These birds also chatter loudly and are very social creatures​​​​​​​.

Common Mynah

Image by smarko from Pixabay

The Common Mynah is a bird that is part of the starling family, that lives in tropical and subtropical climates. They can be found all over Australia and Asia, but they are not native to the continent, they were introduced there from Africa and Southern Europe about 200 years ago. These birds are very curious and get easily attracted by reflective objects.  ​​​​​​​

You can create an enticing space in your backyard or even on your porch if you have one that they will be able to perch and observe. For best results, hang reflective objects like chimes or mirrors from branches and leave a few hanging around​​​​​​​. They can be found in parks or gardens because they enjoy eating insects like grasshoppers and crickets that are abundant there. 

Western Jackdaw

Western Jackdaw
Image by Henri Ollikainen from Pixabay

The Western Jackdaw is an omnivorous bird that can be found across Europe, Western Asia and North Africa. The jackdaw is often seen around bins, streets and gardens in cities as they are scavengers of human waste. They are also known to imitate other birds, such as crows or magpies. Jackdaws are a type of crow that have been seen as thieves for centuries.

It’s not just what they steal that makes them outcasts, it’s how they do it- they swoop down on their target with speed and precision, then fly off into the distance with whatever shiny object has caught their eye.​​​​​​​ Jackdaws are intelligent birds with strong social skills, and this intelligence may be why they go after things that stand out.

Burrowing Owl

Burrowing Owl
Image by Kevinsphotos from Pixabay

The Burrowing Owl is a species of owl native to the Americas.  Burrowing owls hunt at night and eat mostly small mammals such as rodents, which they find by using their excellent hearing to locate prey under cover of darkness. Owls have special feathers on their face called ‘whiskers’ that help them detect objects. They are often overlooked when people think of birds, but they’re actually quite fascinating. They’re typically seen collecting small shiny objects from the ground to use in their nests.

They are found all over North America and can be identified by their large heads and wide yellow eyes with brown stripes that wrap around them. Burrowing owls love collecting shiny things for their nests such as caps from bottles, pieces of glass, jewelry or anything else that catches the light easily.​​​​​​​

Satin Bowerbird

Satin Bowerbird
Image by Holger Detje from Pixabay

The Satin Bowerbird is found in Eastern Australia. They build structures made from sticks, called bowers, and they furnish it with shiny objects, like gum wrappers, plastic straws ,pens and whatever else. This type of bird has a unique talent for turning trash into treasure. The males are known to spend weeks building their bowers and decorating them with colorful items they find around the forest floor or human settlements. This unique talent has attracted the attention of scientists for years. 

It turns out that these bird have a genetic mutation that makes them more interested in the shiny stuff than other birds! Males see these objects as opportunities to use in mating rituals or in other behaviors that result from an instinctive need for shininess.


In closing, our exploration of the seven birds attracted to shiny objects sheds light on the captivating behaviors that adorn the avian world. From the intelligent magpie to the artful bowerbird, their inexplicable penchant for all that glitters adds a layer of fascination to nature’s tapestry.

As we delve deeper into the mysteries behind this attraction, we uncover a wealth of information that not only enriches our understanding of these remarkable creatures but also underscores the boundless wonders of the natural world.

So, the next time you encounter a sparkling coin or a gleaming piece of jewelry, remember that for these avian enthusiasts, it’s not just a shiny bauble—it’s an irresistible invitation to explore the beauty of the world around them.


Do crows like shiny objects?

Yes, crows are known to be attracted to shiny objects. They have a natural curiosity and are often seen collecting and hoarding items like coins, jewelry, and other reflective materials.

Why do crows like shiny things?

Crows are highly intelligent birds, and their attraction to shiny objects may stem from their innate curiosity and the fact that such objects could resemble potential food items or nesting materials.

Do ravens like shiny objects?

Like crows, ravens are attracted to shiny objects due to their high intelligence and curiosity. They may collect shiny items for various reasons, including using them as tools or in nest decoration.

What bird likes shiny things?

Various birds, such as crows, ravens, magpies, and some parrot species, have shown an affinity for shiny objects.

What bird collects shiny things?

Magpies are renowned for their habit of collecting shiny objects. They often incorporate these items into their nests, possibly as a display of dominance or to attract a mate.

Do pigeons like shiny things?

Pigeons typically do not show a strong interest in shiny objects. They are more focused on finding grains and seeds for sustenance.

Do shiny objects scare all birds?

Shiny objects do not necessarily scare all birds. However, some birds might be cautious or curious about them. Each bird species has its own behaviors and reactions to shiny items.

Do magpies like shiny things?

Yes, magpies are particularly fond of shiny objects. They often collect and incorporate them into their nests, possibly for display or as a sign of their territory.

Do jackdaws like shiny things?

Jackdaws, a member of the crow family, may also show an interest in shiny objects. Their behavior is similar to that of crows and magpies in this regard.

Do blue jays like shiny things?

Blue jays are known for their curiosity, and they may occasionally investigate shiny objects. However, their preference for shiny items is not as strong as that of some other corvids.

Do seagulls like shiny things?

Seagulls are more focused on food sources and are less likely to show a strong interest in shiny objects compared to corvids like crows and magpies.


  • Vince S

    Meet Vince, the passionate founder and author of Learn Bird Watching, boasting 30 years of birding experience. With an unwavering mission to empower fellow bird enthusiasts, Vince shares invaluable wisdom and guidance. As a dedicated moderator and contributor to Quora's Bird Watchers' Club, he actively engages with the birding community, where his insightful answers have garnered over 440,000 views and over 2,670 upvotes. Whether you're a budding birder or a seasoned avian aficionado, his wealth of knowledge is at your service.

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