110 W. New York Ave.
DeLand, FL 32720
Nature Scenes: Crows are intelligent, mischievous problem-solvers
By Lynn Bowen
posted Mar 11, 2013 - 9:57:51am
How I wish I could interview an American crow! I read a true story about a man who saw a flock of crows in a tree, and the crows were in a state of commotion. One bird's voice was mainly heard. Soon, two crows fell to the ground. The man examined the victims and found them to be dead, with their eyes pecked out.
He said that what he saw was a court of justice. The crows were trying criminals and found them guilty, then executed them! This curious instinct often prompts some birds to destroy a sick, hurt, blind or evil bird. These birds are very intelligent, but I believe this story with some skepticism. Does one dominant bird presume to be the judge, jury and executioner?
Another story that captivated my attention was about an American crow cawing loudly and mobbing a great horned owl. Soon, about 100 crows within earshot came to help to scare away the owl. The angry birds didn't physically touch their target, but they thoroughly harassed it until it flew away. I guess 100 upset birds can chase away almost any creature!
Crows, if trained, can mimic human voices talking or singing, but this doesn't happen in the wild. Many people have no love for crows, but these birds are intelligent, mischievous, good learners and problem-solvers, which puts them near the top of my list of favorite birds.
The average coal-black, shiny-plumed American crow is 17.5 inches long, has a 39-inch wingspan, and weighs 1 pound. He has a large head (indicating a large brain), broad wings, and a short tail.
These birds live in 48 of our 50 U.S. states and most of the provinces of Canada. They can be found in forests, fields, towns and woodlands.
Crows are often seen in small groups foraging on the ground. They are not fussy eaters, and will eat carrion, rabbits, other small mammals, small reptiles, bird eggs, fruit, grain (especially corn), insects, fish and, of course, nuts.
I just have to settle for admiring and photographing the American crow, since I can't interview him and get to know him better.
— Bowen lives in DeLand. Send email to her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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