American Crow ~ Corvus brachyrhynchos

Crows are a favorite bird of mine. Their slick, black feathers are magnificent! I enjoy hearing them call to each other, as they are very social birds. Many stay together in their family units, which can contain up to 15 birds. The younger birds (under 2 years old) of the family help take care of the fledglings, as crows don’t generally mate until they are four years old. Although they have family units, crows tend to flock with each other and can have roosts as large as a million birds. That’s a lot of crow 😉

Crows are known to mob larger prey birds to scare them away from their nests. Although, crows will also be mobbed by other smaller songbirds when they try to take their fledglings.

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Crows are opportunists when it comes to food. They eat berries, insects, small rodents, other birds (and their young) and will eat carrion. Their beaks are large, however not very sharp and can’t penetrate skin very well. They need to wait until another creature breaks open the skin or the carrion has had time to decompose and become easier to rip apart.

Crows will also use tools to get hard to reach food. They will use sticks to poke into nooks to reach hiding insects, understand water displacement and can understand how levers work.

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Most crows do not migrate for the winter. Their foraging skills and talent for finding edible garbage keeps them full and happy during our nasty winters.

 

© Ilex – Midwestern Plant Girl

31 thoughts on “American Crow ~ Corvus brachyrhynchos

  1. I actually saw an interesting documentary about crows just the other day. It said they were extremely smart and also that when a crow is killed, the other members of the flock sit silently near the body for a time before flying off. The scientist they spoke to said it was a commonly observed phenomenon and speculated that they felt grief and were marking the passing. It was fascinating.

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  2. The entire corvid family is one of my favorite groups of birds – they are so smart! I read a book on them a few years ago which was fascinating. Among the stories in it was that scientists and students studying the crows on a campus initially would get into the bird nests without masks to see the eggs and babies. Unfortunately for them, the crows would then recognize them and dive bomb and attack them whenever they saw them on campus. Even worse (/more awesome)? They taught other crows and subsequent generations to do the same thing! They quickly learned to don masks when working in the nests.

    I’ll stop now, but I can tell crow stories for a long time.

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    • Oh my! I just remembered your post about the girl that fed crows. Dang, I should have linked that 😣 It’s a great video about how they think.
      My Tupelo seeds are juuust right now and I have flocks of bluebirds gobbling them down! Even saw a flicker! I’m amazed what planting one tree can do. It’s a feeding frenzy! 😆 I was hoping the Cedar wax wings would stop by… they’d better hurry, I’d say 50% of the berries are gone.

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      • Wow. I wish I had a tupelo tree. I love bluebirds. I had a bluebird nesting box trail years ago when I was not working a paying job and raising my kiddoes. Had to let it go after returning to nursing. You have a virtual birding paradise.

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        • They were flocking all over it. I did get a few good shots… post coming soon. The berries are all gone now, so I don’t think I’ll get any more forgers. 😳 I walk many of the trails that have the boxes along the trails. I love seeing them!

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  3. Add me to the list of people who are fascinated by crows. I know they get a bad rap as being rather creepy birds, but like so many others have said, they are smart. Really smart.
    I’ve been ‘attacked’ a few times while cycling – as have my husband and son in separate incidents. I suspect there were young nearby and at the same point on the road, one would ‘charge’ us either hitting our helmet or back.
    I can get the hint … I chose a new route 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think most animals fascinate me, some more than others. Crows are on the list.
      Maybe folks are associating them with Poe (Nevermore! Ok, that was a raven..) or even death. I think of them as enlightened. They know something more than us and ain’t telling! 😉😉

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  4. Pingback: Red Breasted Nuthatch ~ Sitta canadensis | Midwestern Plants

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