American Crow, Corvus brachyrhynchos
American Crow, Corvus brachyrhynchos, otherwise known as the common crow is a familiar bird to most people.
American Crows are large, intelligent, all-black birds, recent research has found them capable not only of tool use but of tool construction as well. Crows are now considered to be among the world’s most intelligent animals. Inquisitive and sometimes mischievous, crows are good learners and problem-solvers, often raiding garbage cans and picking over discarded food containers. Crows have been shown to have the ability to visually recognize individual humans, and to transmit information about “bad” humans by squawking. Crows, and their cousins, Jays and Magpies, have taken it upon themselves to be the early warning system of the animal kingdom, alerting anything within earshot at the first signs of danger.
They’re also aggressive and often chase away larger birds including hawks, owls and herons. This is especially true of crows defending their nest or young. Crows will even attack humans that venture to close to the nest!
Since great horned owls are the number one predator of crows, the owls are number one on the crows you know what list. Often when an owl is spotted by a crow, it will alert other crows in the area, and they will join together to cause the owl as much misery as possible. There have been many times when paying attention to the crows has led me to an owl I would have otherwise missed. And, it always a treat to watch the acrobatic displays performed by the crows as they repeatedly buzz an owl that they have “treed”!
American Crows are very social, sometimes forming flocks in the millions at times. Most people are familiar with their with hoarse, cawing voices, but being very social birds, they make a wide variety of calls or vocalizations. Crows have also been observed to respond to calls of other species; this behavior is, it is presumed, learned because it varies regionally. Crows’ vocalizations are complex and poorly understood, and also vary regionally. They may also mimic the calls of other species of birds and small mammals.
They are common sights in treetops, fields, and roadsides, and in habitats ranging from open woods and empty beaches to town centers. They usually feed on the ground and eat almost anything – typically earthworms, insects and other small animals, seeds, and fruit but also garbage, carrion, and chicks they rob from nests. Their flight style is unique, a patient, methodical flapping that is rarely broken up with glides.
Throughout history, crows have appeared in human mythology and folklore, often as the harbinger of death, but in other cultures, as jesters, pranksters, or trickster.
On to the photos.
This is number nine in my photo life list, only 341 to go!
That’s it for this one, thanks for stopping by!