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American Crow
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American Crow

Facts about the American Crow 

Family: Corvidae
Length: 43 to 53 cm
Wingspan: 84 to 102 cm
Weight: Male 458 g
Female : 438 g

  • The tail is square or slightly rounded, and fans out during flight.
  • Black beak, long and thick.
  • Black feet.
  • The primarily black feathers have green or violet metallic tints

Description

The American Crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos) is often mistaken for the raven, which is much larger. The American Crow is among the most widespread birds in North America, commonly found all across Canada (except on the West Coast) and throughout the United States (except in desert areas). Farmland where there are wooded areas is an environment particularly favoured by crows.   

Nestlings

The nest is a solid construction of branches in the centre of which is a floor of dried earth covered in a carpet of grasses, moss, leaves, strips of bark, etc. Measuring some 55 cm in diameter, the nest is hidden very high up (6 to 11 m from the ground) in trees with dense foliage.

The babies are pink at birth. Fed by both parents, they leave the nest when they are 5 weeks old. The plumage is a brownish black. Although they can reproduce at the age of two, some offspring may stay with their parents until they are 4 years old. The crow may build its nest in the same tree two or three years in a row. 

Pillagers with a purpose

Farmers hate crows because they can devastate their fields, be they corn or other grain crops. Since the crow will also eat harmful insects and garbage, its usefulness far outweighs the nuisance it can cause. Very cunning and cautious, these birds are hard to catch and have learned to make the most of their contact with human beings.

Varied diet

A crow will eat just about anything: insects, snakes, eggs, baby birds, rodents, fruits, grains, carrion, spoilt food and garbage. It can fill its mouth with a surprising amount of food, which it will carry to its young or store in caches.

Avian troublemakers

The crow is one of the most intelligent birds in the world. It knows how to use objects as tools and can even chase away an intruder by dropping stones on it while in flight. It can imitate the cries of other animals and, reportedly, even reproduce the sounds of certain words.

Dormitory

Crows sleep in flocks in tall trees that are out-of-the-way. A "congregation" of several hundred thousand members can be seen at times in these community dormitories. This behaviour occurs mainly during migration and in winter.

 

THE AMERICAN CROW SEASON BY SEASON

Spring

When spring arrives, the crows gather in small groups and the mating season begins. Such gatherings generally consist of a mating pair and their offspring from the previous year.

Noisy and quarrelsome by nature, crows are surprisingly quiet while the nests are being built and the eggs laid and incubated. During this time, crows are more aggressive than usual and any intruder will be quickly driven off. Crows are monogamous and a pair will generally mate for life. Nest-building takes one to two weeks. Several nests may be started but never finished.

Summer

As soon as they are able to fly, the fledglings follow their parents everywhere, constantly crying out for food. Once the young have learned to feed themselves, the family will join up with other groups, which will merge to form large flocks.

Highly adaptable, crows can and do dwell in a variety of environments: forests, farmers’ fields, pasturelands, cities, towns, garbage dumps. Their preferred environment is an agricultural zone complete with wooded areas and crop fields.

The feathers of adult crows moult completely every summer.

Fall

Crows are the only members of the Corvidae family that migrate. Their migratory pattern will vary from region to region. In mid-October, the birds leave in flocks, some headed for the southern regions of Canada, some to the southern US states, others to the north of Mexico.

If crows manage to find an adequate food supply in a particular area, they tend to remain there year round.

Winter

Throughout winter, crows will stay together in large flocks. In areas where there is a lot of snow, great numbers of birds can be found in and around city dumpsites. Towards the end of winter, the large flocks will break up into smaller gatherings of four or five members. 

From the end of February to the end of March, the crows, which have wintered in the south will return to their summer homes in the north.

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Comments

Il parle avec les loups

Par Claire Prevost, 2017-02-02, 13h34

Je remercie ces gens pour leur compassion et leur Amour pour les Animaux...leur oeuvre est SACRÉE!!! Que Dieu les bénissent et les protègent...ils sont de véritables Anges sur Terre!!! Merci encore et encore et encore...

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