I was thinking about crows quite a lot this past week. (I recently met another nice woman in the area. Yay! It's great to meet some people on the same wavelength.) We were talking about crow behavior, and how intelligent they are. I was fascinated by this video of a crow using CARS to crack open a nut. Here's a video of one making a tool!
(photo by Kevin and Jay McGowan)
Do you have many crows where you live? In the country, we have tons, but I also saw them frequently when I lived in town, too. Most people seem to really dislike crows. I can understand this for several reasons (they can damage crops, they get into garbage, they're carrion eaters, they're noisy). However, I think they're a charming, intelligent species that deserves a kinder look.
I've heard they make great pets, but it's not a good to keep a wild bird. Helping a bird that has been injured is one thing, but keeping one for fun is another. In fact, it's illegal to cage a crow, or any migratory bird, according to the US Migratory Bird Act.
If you find an injured bird, contact a local wildlife rehabilitator. If you can't locate one, the Adubon Society should be able to point you in the right direction.
So, some interested crow facts:
- Paired male and female crows share in the incubation eggs.
- Frequently, at least one young bird will remain with its parents through the next nesting season to assist in the care of new nestlings by bringing them food and guarding the nest.
- They mate for life, unless one bird is killed
- In different parts of the US, crows sound different---their voices are similar to human dialects. For example, the difference between a Southerner's voice and that of someone from New York.
- During the Black Plague, doctors would wear crow-shaped masks as they made their rounds. The large “beaks” held perfume to mask the stench.This is another reason many cultures tend to have negative association with the birds.
- They have huge vocabularies, and their calls convey many meanings-- distress, courtship, warning, content, anger, etc.
- They've been observed playing 'games'....throwing nuts to each other mid air, repeating the same motions, also stealing golf balls from people. One group seemed to have a preference for colored balls only.
- They have been shown to watch traffic signals. If they want something out of a road, for example, they will wait until the light has changed (not just traffic stopping) to retrieve an item from a road.