Crow – Profile, Food, Facts
In several cultures all over the world, crows are often associated with bad omen and death. In addition, they are loathed for their crop-damaging mannerism and irritating ‘caw’ sound. However, behind it all, crows are some of the most intelligent, enthralling, and adaptable creatures that ever existed.
Most impressive is the crow’s social nature, where they live in pairs or small flocks. In recent times, crows are used as pop culture, myth, and gothic symbols. Without further hesitation, keep following as we bring to light important facts about these least understood beautiful birds.
Crows thrive in diverse habitats like open areas, grasslands, suburbs and others. Apart from South America and Antarctica, you can find various species in Asia, Central America, Africa, Europe, and North America.
There are approximately 40 different crow species in the Corvus family. One of the most widespread species is the common raven found in Iceland, Europe, Greenland, Scandinavia, and Asia. You can also spot common ravens species in the Himalayas, Canary Islands, Northwestern Africa, Central America, and Iran.
Mainly, crows prefer living in rocky cliffs, deserts, woodlands, seacoasts, open riverbanks, steppes, and mountain forests. Luckily, crows can quickly adapt to various habitats and enjoy a healthy life.
Crows are large, long-legged birds with thick necks and straight beaks. Also, they have bristles that sprout along the beak. Most striking is their entire black body, from the bill to the legs.
However, a closer look at old feathers reveals a scaly brownish color compared to the glossy look on new feathers. On average, crow measures about 17 inches and weighs 15 to 60 ounces.
In contrast to other birds, crows have evenly sized feathers which look like a fan when flying. When flying, the wings can broaden up to 2.5 feet.
Crow’s extreme intelligence surpasses other bird species immensely. As a result, they have remarkable communication skills and excellent problem-solving capabilities.
Also, crows recognize human faces and imitate other bird’s voices. Although they forage in flocks, most prefer living in solitude. Still, you might not fail to notice some in pairs or living in small groups.
When one member of the flock dies, others surround the dead body and appear mourning.
Nonetheless, this assembly happens to determine the cause of death. When confronted by other birds, crows band together and fight as a team in an activity known as mobbing. It is common to find crows chasing away stronger and bigger birds such as herons, hawks, and owls.
Food & Diet
Crows are opportunistic omnivores that feed on almost anything they come across. With a straight solid beak, crows feed on a diverse diet of seeds, carrion, insects, nuts, fruits, berries, worms, and dead bodies. Sometimes, crows attack and feed on smaller bird species, mollusks, and non-insect arthropods.
Thanks to their foraging nature, crocks can clean up garbage, corpses, and crops on a farm. Although this sounds disastrous, remember that crows also feed on insect pests in the farms. Most striking is that crows hide their food for later use underground or in trees.
Nesting and Breeding
Due to their social nature, crows are communal breeders. In addition, they remain close to their place of birth and help to nurse or defend the young ones from trespassers.
During the breeding season, the mating pair builds an averagely sized nest made from mosses, twigs, cloth, fibers, hair, and others. Usually, they make the nest on tree branches approximately 4 to 20 meters high.
According to an official report, crow nests generally measure 45-60 cm in diameter. Soon after, the female bird lays at least three to five eggs. Approximately 18 days later, the eggs hatch into tiny hairless younglings.
It might take at least four weeks for the chicks to leave the nest. All in all, both parents feed the babies for roughly 60 days. In some species, non-mating birds and young ones live in a similar flock known as roosting community.
On average, healthy crows live up to eight years old. Unfortunately, they are vulnerable to a life-threatening condition known as West Nile.
Other common causes of death in crows include old age, accidents, and other ailments. It is pretty adverse that most veterinarians would not attempt to take care of a sick crow.
The main reason behind this is that they may lose licenses because of the current restrictions on keeping crows as pets. Remember that even with a legalized breed like Hooded Crow, finding a vet conversant with crow care is still challenging.
Do Crows Migrate?
Some species migrate to different parts of the world in different seasons. On the other side, others stick to one location but occasionally shift to the warmer territories if necessary. This behavior is referred to as partial migration, which helps crows to adapt to diverse ecological conditions.
One popular partial migratory is the American crows. On the other hand, crows around the Southern remain in one territory almost all their lives. Apart from climatic changes, crows migrate because of increased urbanization.
Still, enhanced warming trends prompts them in their breeding terrains more. That said, crows migrate in vast flocks of up to 8000 birds.
Can You Keep Crow as a Pet?
Keeping a pet crow is never a walk in the park. Mainly, crows struggle to adjust to a cage arrangement because of their inability to climb like other birds. In other words, their hopping and walking nature may not fit well in a small enclosure.
Furthermore, they are loud and complicated to feed because of their wide-range diet. For this reason, crows thrive better in an almost similar environment to their natural habitat. Besides, you have to consider the legal and safest species to bring home in your area.
Despite their fantastic intelligence and exceptional personality, crows are complicated creatures to keep in captivity. Nonetheless, if you insist on bringing one home, seek information from a reliable vet on the ideal non-migratory breed.
Then consider helping out at the local wildlife facility and learn a trick or two. Altogether, crows make fascinating pets if you handle and keep them in an optimum environment.