It’s the month for all things creepy and the American Crow has somehow always been a part of the scary experience. So, it’s only fitting that this bird, known for causing fright, would be our bird of the month.
Have you ever noticed how often crows are seen in Halloween promotions? Crows in general are considered bad omens and their dark black coloring makes it easy to associate them with the supernatural and all things evil. They are often seen in horror movies to portend danger; but, do these smart, social, and gregarious birds really deserve such a nasty reputation?
Crows are much like any other bird in that they eat worms, insects, and seeds. But, the fact that they also like to eat garbage, carrion, and the eggs – as well as chicks – from other nests is part of what gives them such a bad rap. They also didn’t help their reputation during the Civil War when they ate the soft tissue from dead soldiers on the battlefield.
The American Crow is a relatively large, dark bird. It’s solid black from head to toe including its beak, squawks out an ugly “caw” versus the melodious tones of our favorite songbirds, and, they gather in huge numbers – all those qualities are part of what make crows the perfect symbol for horror movies.
Nonetheless there is another, more positive, side to their story. For instance, consider all the ways that crows are like humans. They are very social and family is important to them. Crows live in families with generally two generations of young with the older generation often helping to raise the younger siblings. While crows stick together in these family units, they also flock in large numbers up to a million birds when gathering to roost. Like humans, crows are opportunistic when it comes to food and will make a meal out of almost anything, much to the consternation of gardeners and farmers everywhere.
Crows are also similar to us in that they play just for amusement. In the video below, watch as a crow plays ball with a dog and a human. Crows are known to be amazingly smart, often using tools to figure out a problem. The second video shows a demonstration of their problem solving skills.
While crows can be aggressive, they often use that aggression to drive hawks and other predatory birds out of their territory, protecting the songbirds at your feeders. When crows work together to drive off predators, the behavior is called “mobbing.”
Crows are one of America’s most controversial birds. Some people are very annoyed by them while others admire their intellect and resourcefulness. A 2015 survey in Seattle found that some residents would be willing to pay for efforts to help reduce the population of crows. If you are one of those who wants to learn more about this amazing creature, watch the video below to see an extraordinary documentary showing just how smart, sensitive, and social crows really are.
If you have photos, videos, or stories of your experiences with the American Crows, please share them with the Cole’s community on Facebook.
Cole’s Wild Bird Products is a family-run business that packages and distributes its own top quality line of wild bird feed, feeders, and suet products. Cole’s specializes in chile infused seed products designed to make your feeder a birds only “hot” spot. Cole’s was born in the garage of “mom and pop” entrepreneurs, Richard and Nancy Cole, back in the early 1980’s and today it distributes to retailers nationwide. Cole’s is located in the metro Atlanta area.