One of the unique rituals followed during Shradh is offering food to crows. A part of the food that is cooked for ancestors, dead parents and relatives are offered to crows while performing Shradh, Tarpan and Pinda Daan. This is based on the belief that food offered to crows directly reach ancestors in their world.
It is believed that food offerings to crows began in the Treta Yuga and it was Sri Ram who blessed crows to receive food offerings for ancestors.
Once during his exile period Sri Ram noticed that a crow was troubling Mata Sita. The crow started hurting Sita by pecking on her head. Sri Ram to get rid of the crow took hay and used it as an arrow and shot at the crow.
The hay struck on an eye of the crow and it fell down.
Suddenly the crow changed into a human being. The crow was Jayant, son of Indra, who due to a curse had become a crow.
With Sri Ram shooting the crow down, it was relieved of the curse.
Sri Ram then forgave Jayant for attacking Mata Sita and gave the blessing that food offered to crows will reach ancestors.