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    • Bird Academy
      Bird Academy
      Bird_Academy
      1. Do the crows in your area appear healthy?  Have you seen any evidence of foot disease? Did West Nile Virus have a significant impact on the population, to your knowledge?
      2. Have you ever noticed any aggression between American Crows, or are they generally cooperating, maybe taking care of each other?
      You must be enrolled in the course to reply to this topic.
    • Dona
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      ourjiggy
      We have a family of crows, parents and three young, who live in our area and enjoy visiting the corn we put on the ground under the feeders.  They look healthy and are enjoyable to watch.  Haven't seen any aggression among them.
    • Brenda
      Participant
      Chirps: 4
      NorasGranddaughter
      This was horrible.  I could have done without this.  Don't include things like this anymore.  I would not want to pay for this horror ever again.
      • Lee Ann van Leer
        Bird Academy
        LilacRoller
        Hello Brenda,   Thanks for the feedback. We know that the scientific details about what happened in this lesson topic bother some folks so we included a warning of before the video starts that one can skip that video if they are sensitive to a topic like this. For scientists, animal behaviorists, and future and current ornithologists this is an important part of crow biology and we need to study all aspects of biology when we are aiming to understand and help conserve ecosystems and understand social dynamics of birds. Our courses typically include a warning before anything that might be disturbing or sensitive. Feel free to skip those sections.
    • Catharine
      Participant
      Chirps: 3
      catwomyn1999
      I do not often have crows come to my yard, but last year, in the late summer, a group of 3 showed up, I believe it must have been a mother, father and child, as they hung around our compost heap and were feeding the (very large) younger bird from it.  It was very interesting to me, as I had never witnessed crow family behavior like this.  Most of the time when I see crows, they are either flying in a large flock overhead, or I will see a few at a time, hanging out in the trees in the neighborhood, often on trash pickup day, seemingly talking to each other, and perhaps foraging for food.
    • Diane
      Participant
      Chirps: 6
      djohnson6141
      1. Yes, crows are in my area. I live in North Georgia. I have not spent much time observing crows. Growing up in the South I was always told they were a nuisance. But I will be observing them more now and enjoying learning more about them.
    • colleen
      Participant
      Chirps: 3
      colleenmccarthy
      I've added (below) 3 photos of crows I've been watching for years; the first, taken in 2016 shows "Gimpy" a female crow I had been watching for several years before this photo. I started putting out a morning treat of suet (or leftover protein) to my crows & Gimpy was always able to raise a brood of at least 2 babies. She had cleverly discovered that she could cling to a suet feeder & flap her wings while grabbing a mouthful - then getting water from the bird bath - she had a perfect slurry for her chicks. Second photo shows Gimpy in 2018 - white feather on right wing. Foot about the same. She and her mate lost their territory while we were on vacation so I don't know what happened to her. However, her  adult male son inherited the territory & had a chick with the same foot problem (although more severe). The chick disappeared after about 4 months - I'm assuming a victim of predation - he actually had difficulty walking with the deformed foot. I do not have a photo of him. This year  (2020) the same pair, occupying our territory (they share it with another crow family since the eating is so good) raised only one chick - he is shown in the photo, taken this year, in June - gaping & screaming for food ... Present crow grouping as of September of 2020 is 9 (4 from one family & 5 from the other). Enjoyed the information about the staph infection - did not know about this & I'm wondering if this is the problem ...
    • colleen
      Participant
      Chirps: 3
      colleenmccarthy
      IMG_0734IMG_0430IMG_0908
    • Lynn
      Participant
      Chirps: 8
      Lemmolo
      1.  The Crows in Montauk appear healthy.   However been seeing less off them this year.   Two noisy players must be clarifying turf. 2.  In SF, the morning after the roost, there was a dead crow on the street.   I did not see how it was killed, but it was pretty much in tack.
    • Shea
      Participant
      Chirps: 20
      runnerboy13
      1.No, but I think I saw a song sparrow wit a missing foot, other than that no, I haven't seen any sick  birds. 2. Generally I have not seen any aggression except for some playful chasing.
    • Jeannette
      Participant
      Chirps: 3
      JanieHarp
      Several crows have been coming to our upstairs deck next to the kitchen for about 3 years and calling loudly until we throw out scraps for them. One has an deformed right foot. The foot is bent at the ankle and points backwards. Of the three crows that come it is the tamest and also the most aggressive when it comes to getting to the food.
    • Elizabeth
      Participant
      Chirps: 5
      hummingraven
      In the Northwest corner of NJ... 1. The family of crows in my yard do not have the foot disease. One of the family members has a missing tail feather or two. I have no idea what happened or when, but I don't remember that last year and I believe it's the same family. 2. I have not noticed any specific aggression outside the normal play and vying for bits of food.
    • Arthur
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      aallgauer
      I live in central NJ, and for as long as I can recall, there are usually two crows around that look healthy.  There are no signs of aggression between them.  They never seem to be far apart.
    • Diana
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      bluesmom913
      I have been feeding 2 crows peanuts for a couple of years. This year they have their first brood. When they arrived at my house they brought other family members to protect their young from the malicious attacks of nesting mockingbirds, grackles, starlings, redwinged blackbirds and cowbirds. I have to admit those mockingbirds were vicious and fast.  I am assuming the accompanying crows were there for that purpose. I also assumed there would be a single offspring for some reason. Now, a good 5-6 weeks later I see a flock of 6 leading me to believe they had FOUR babies.  They are big and beautiful and LOUD.  Since they haven’t mastered opening the peanut shells they simply scream at their parents who seem overwhelmed. Hopefully they get it soon as I’m expecting complaints from neighbors, lol. I wish I knew where they slept at night. Another point of interest is that I live right on the beach so I get to watch these crows are get lessons from their parents on foraging in low tide.  Don’t know what they are eating but I think they are hunting small crabs.
    • Mr. Train
      Participant
      Chirps: 2
      jeftyrules
      I have a question about West Nile:  earlier in the fall I came across a red-tailed hawk in the woods, which appeared to have a broken leg.  I rescued the bird and brought it to a local hospital.  They determined that the bird had contracted West Nile.  They administered drugs, but it was too late and the bird died.  A few weeks later I was speaking to a rehabber, and he wanted to know if they took a blood sample to determine the state of the bird, because, he said, lead in the water can have the same impacts as West Nile.  Is this true?  Also, does your research group test birds that have died in order to determine if the birds do succumb to West Nile?  Could some of the crows be dying from lead in the water?
    • Fred
      Participant
      Chirps: 4
      glockf
      1. Over the last few years, our family seems to be stable and healthy.  The five who we believe are the nuclear family are joined on occasion by one, two or three other birds when the feed.  We have seen no dead crows in our four acres.  There are tall pines on 1.5 acres of ours and parkland on two other sides with tall trees.  We haven't observed the nest, but suspect it is in our patch. There has been no evidence of any disease in our crows (though other birds - cardinals, goldfinch and sparrows have shown eye disease, which killed a few). 2. We have a cooperative crew here, and the territories seem to be large enough (sq.miles) that fights have never been evident.
    • Anne
      Participant
      Chirps: 2
      annemcole
      I live in Southern California and have a healthy population of crows that I see regularly above and around my property.  About a year and a half ago I first observed one crow with an injured leg - it was bloody and dangling.  I did not see how the injury occurred.  Over the course of a week or so the superficial injury healed but the leg continued to be unusable for this bird.  Because he is physically so different from the other crows he has become a recognizable individual and my partner and I refer to him as Gimpy.  We still see him frequently and though he continues to have one unusable leg he appears healthy in other respects.  He never lost his foot, so I suspect it is not the same foot disease that Dr. McGowan describes in this course.  It is clear that Gimpy has trouble perching with only one good leg, so he likes to hang out on my deck railing which allows him to rest on his belly and offers him a good vantage point across the valley near my house.  I have also noted that he is a bit of a loner.  I regularly have between 3 and 8 crows that forage in the grass under my bird feeders.  Gimpy keeps his distance from the other crows and only forages here when the others are not around.  I have not seen any direct aggression towards Gimpy nor between any of my crows. I often see the crows "dog fighting" with each other, especially when there are strong winds, but this seems more like play fighting and a way to develop aerial skills rather than aggression.  It's so much fun to watch!
    • catha
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      catjcow
      I've never seen a crow here (Seattle) with a foot problem, but I wasn't aware of this problem until now. So, will keep my eyes open! I haven't seen aggression. Mostly, they are talking to each other, caw- cawing at each other. Or, seeming to care for each other. About a week ago at my feeder, I did see a Junco that seemed to have an injured foot, or at least was limping. Haven't seen it since, however.
    • pat
      Participant
      Chirps: 4
      prestivo1967
      We do not see many crows anymore here in Guelph,Ontario.One however  has become my neighbors best friend.I have never seen a crow with an injured leg& was surprised to learn they can survive such an injury.Very interesting lesson!!
    • Rebecca
      Participant
      Chirps: 6
      raheagle
      1.  The crows in my area do seem to be healthy.  I must admit that before this course I didn't observe crows with the same attention I did "my" other birds.  I have never seen evidence of the foot disease shown in the video, nor of WNV ( perhaps due to local campaigns discouraging opportunities for mosquitoes to breed, like uncovered water containers ). 2.  I have not observed aggression between crows, more banding together to ward off a perceived threat, like with a hawk or owl.  I do feel that since I don't see large gatherings of crows in town where I live, the crows I do see are of a more family-oriented nature.
    • Diane
      Participant
      Chirps: 4
      dlahaise
      I am in Altanta, GA, and have not noticed any obvious illness in the crows. However, they tend to be quite wary of people so it's difficult to get close enough to do detailed observations. I have seen no evidence of foot disease, and no obvious decline because of West Nile, but we definitely do have the virus in our mosquitoes. As for aggression, the most I have seen is one crow chasing another. I have also seen groups of crows annoying red-tailed hawks, but that seems to be typical!
    • Susan
      Participant
      Chirps: 30
      susangreta
      Right now I'm on Cape Cod, in E. Dennis. I've noticed a small flock of crows in my territory over the past several years. They seem to all get along and call each other from around the bogs and descend on any dead things washed up by the tide, or peanuts and fallen apples in my yard (very warily!). They are shy around humans. They seem well but I don't see them enough as a group to know. I've never noticed aggression between the American Crows up here. I've seen them harassing red-tailed hawks pretty frequently.
    • Robin Lee
      Participant
      Chirps: 2
      robinred57
      1. I’ve never witnessed any crows with foot disease or missing a foot. 2.I’ve never witnessed crows fighting with each other. Sometimes they’ll push each other out of the way to eat, but that’s it.
    • Sally
      Participant
      Chirps: 6
      Skentch
      In Seattle Ihave noticed this foot disease but not for a couple of years. Agony to watch the crows with this problem. I have not witnessed aggression  between crows...will watch for it now.
    • Robert
      Participant
      Chirps: 2
      bob
      Here in northern Alberta, West Nile hasn't been an issue. Nor have we seen any monopod crows. The narrowing of gene pools might explain why some territory's crows seem much larger than others?? So large around here that I thought they were ravens.
    • Wesley
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      WWeese
      I'm wondering if there is any correlation or causality between the use of harder-than-aluminum leg bands and the rise of foot disease in the 1990s, especially as cuts or abrasions are thought to lead to foot disease. When did the new leg bands replace the old?    
    • Jan
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      janvank1
      There is a family group that frequents our backyard. I had not thought about such big birds being fledglings, but one day I grabbed my binoculars and realized the different behavior I was observing was that of parent/child. The group of 3 had increased to 5 or 6. Thanks to the course, I understood what I was seeing. I am puzzled by one that seems to whine sometimes by itself, sometimes in the group. I have tried to see if it is being picked on, or just being "that kid." Any insight? There is a leader who seems to lead the way, but everyone cooperates.
    • Faith
      Participant
      Chirps: 6
      faith m sullivan
      All the Crows that I have  been watching appear to be healthy . No evidence of foot disease when Perched their weight always looks  evenly disbursed  On both feet. I do not know about the West Nile Virus  for my area SC  haven’t been here very long .I have never witnessed any aggression among the flock they always seem to be watching out for each other ,when feeding there’s always a spotter  he’ll sit and tree and watch when ones done eating then another will come down and repeat process for the most part I do have some brave ones they  come on their own eat and  then go
    • Roseann
      Participant
      Chirps: 4
      RoseannK
      I don't know anything about the crows in my area (west coast Canada/BC) having WNV. I have seen crows with avian pox, sometimes badly... some with a broken beak, but no missing legs. I have seen regression between crows which seems worse during nesting season when the crows seem extra-territorial.  There are some cases outside of that season as well... crows ganging up on one crow that gets pinned to the ground. I've certainly seen crows harassing other birds (ravens, red-tailed hawks, eagles) in the area. Sometimes a couple of ravens drop in for a visit where I go to feed my crows friend, as expected the crows are not pleased. The ravens mostly ignore the crows and get some food too; one time one crow went directly for a piece of food a raven already had (didn't seem like a smart move), I turned my back for just a second and that raven had that crow flipped on his back and pinned to the ground poking his beak into the crow's underside. At that point a number of crows started fiercely harassing the raven, the raven let the crow go and everyone was okay. I personally don't think the raven would have seriously hurt or killed that crow... maybe just giving him a warning of a kind.
    • Cyrus
      Participant
      Chirps: 6
      RhodeC
      Current local flock (TN South Cumberland Plateau) of 6 or more crows appear to be healthy.   I have not seen evidence of foot disease; however, I haven't been looking for it.   Crow population has been stable over the last decade.  I have not witnessed any crow aggression against another crow.
    • Marianne
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      quiltygirl
      I saw a crow fight recently and these birds do not fool around. I have no idea what the offender did, but 6 crows were ganging up on one. I’m standing under the tree yelling and trying to break things up. The victim was able to fly to another tree but all 6 followed and continued to attack this crow.  Don’t know how it ended as I continued on my walk.  I wish I’d stayed.
    • Linda
      Participant
      Chirps: 3
      Courtney47
      The crows I see in my yard seem to be healthy and cooperative.
    • Jonquele
      Participant
      Chirps: 7
      jonquele
      1. Everyone seems healthy. I've not seen any one-footed crows. (The Great Blue Heron that spends most of his time in the pond next to our beach house on the Fla panhandle is missing a foot, but I suspect an alligator. He has trouble perching in the trees, but otherwise seems able to fish, fly and court females.) Don't know about West Nile. 2. Last fall, there was a quite violent encounter, probably territorial. Here's my account from eBird, "Flying widely separated east to west. Lots of calling and flying to and fro over the entire ridge. Judging from an episode yesterday afternoon, there are rival crows in the area... a squad of “soldiers” in a tight, fast-moving flock came over the hill headed west. Then there was a ferocious hullabaloo about a quarter mile away that gave insight to the term “murder of crows”. The conflict moved to the yard diagonally behind mine with 5-6 crows diving at something. What finally escaped was another crow hotly pursued by the flock and driven all the way to the lake. [.5 mi away]" Another curious episode occurred early this spring. Four crows landed on the driveway where I had dumped the feeders to clean them... lots of sunflower seeds, peanuts and cherries. One bird, which was larger (by a good 10%) and shaggier than the others, was begging to be fed...shaking his wings like a fledgling. Very strange. They stamped their feet at him when he came too close, but they didn't drive him off either. As I recall, he didn't seem to understand how to gather and eat for himself. (I had a cowbird chick last summer who acted the same way, while the entire summer flock of 20 + birds chowed down around him.) The crows vacuumed up the peanuts and then left, as a group.
    • Jen
      Participant
      Chirps: 6
      tweettweet
      1–I have not seen any one legged crows nearby.  I have no knowledge of the local impact of West Nile. 2. I have only seen crows cooperating.  I did witness several crows trying to get a hawk out of the territory a few years ago. They kept flying into the hawk. After repeated attempts, one of the crows went at the hawk again, there was a tussle, and the crow fell straight down out of the sky.   This was taking place at a height above white pines.  I realize it’s life in the wild, but it was a little sad and shocking to witness.
    • Desiree
      Participant
      Chirps: 16
      Weeziehupy
      The crows in my yard all seem very healthy, and they are always cooperative-a few times I have had a falcon fly into the yard and once there was a hawk, and when this has happened crows from other areas in the neighborhood seem to show up to help chase it off. Lately the American crows have been more aggressive with the fish crows, but I don’t know why. It may have something to do with the breeding season? A few years it got really cold in New Orleans (cold for New Orleans anyway), and I noticed a limping crow in the street being attacked by a stray cat. I picked the crow up and brought him inside, and the next day he seemed better, and I let him go. I think he was struggling with the foot injury and the cold though because he came back the next morning, and I fed him and kept him inside again (he seemed to like going under my desk), and that seemed to have done the trick because the next time I put him outside he flew away. I thought the injury had something to do with the cold weather, but now I wonder if it was something else. I don’t usually take  in injured wild animals, but nobody else would pick him up, and I couldn’t just watch him get attacked.
    • Peggy
      Participant
      Chirps: 10
      MPage815
      I live in southern Maine, and I recall reports of dead crows and jays due to WNV a few years back. The state has stopped responding to citizen reports of dead birds (it had encouraged these reports originally) because the data gathered was not useful. The state website reports the reason for this is because birds can fly and where they are found dead may not be where they contracted the disease. Sounds a little lame to me...
      • Lee Ann van Leer
        Bird Academy
        LilacRoller
        Hello Peggy, Thanks for the interesting information from Maine. I found out from the instructor

        <<All states have realized that testing mosquito pools is a cheaper and more accurate way to find WNV outbreaks than testing dead birds. In the beginning we knew nothing and were trying everything.>>   I hope the stopping of testing dead birds now in your area makes more sense now. Thanks for bringing this up.

    • Student Birder
      Participant
      Chirps: 7
      elydick
      1.  Yes, our crows seem healthy, but a few days ago I did notice a one-footed crow perched on my bird bath.  In fact I was going to remark about it in an earlier lesson but forgot.  Not sure if it is foot disease; if it was it is not a clean injury.  Yes, WNV did have an impact on the population of crows here and people still monitor for dead crows. 2.  I haven't seen anything that I would call aggression, but I did see an argument that I thought was a parent child issue, but that's what I read into it and since none of the crows are marked, I am just projecting.  But they do seem to cooperate, walking around & foraging and watching out for each other.
    • Pamela
      Participant
      Chirps: 4
      Quakeress
      Yes, the crows in our area appear healthy. However, last winter we had a crow with an injured foot.  You wouldn't know it was injured except he/she did not put any weight on it.  He was part of a family of 5 individuals.  I think they were the ones in the nest in our neighbor's tall white pine. The family did not nest in that site this year. Come to think of it I did not see much of them beginning in March. A good number of years ago (maybe 7 or 8) my husband found a young crow on the ground who could not manipulate either of its feet. We kept an eye on it, but when the local fox came around, we set the crow on top of a yew bush where it was supported in the boughs. We were hoping to see the mother come to its assistance.  Unfortunately, the crow was deceased the next morning.  It was odd in that it did not look sick externally - no wounds.
      • Elizabeth
        Participant
        Chirps: 9
        throckm6
        Pamela, it very well could have died of West Nile virus if there were no wounds.
    • Mary
      Participant
      Chirps: 3
      theMaryBirdWatcher
      Question 2.  I’ve never seen crows being aggressive with each other.  I have seen other types squabbling with each other - like Robins.
    • DLadetto
      Participant
      Chirps: 6
      DLadetto
      Q1. Yes the crows seem pretty healthy and spunky in my area. I haven’t noticed foot disease. I’m don’t know about West Nile impact in my area. However my birderfriend told me in his county many crows in his area died out from West Nile and that they have not recovered. He said that grackles seemed to have filled in the gaps the crows left behind.This is second hand info so I don’t directly have evidence of this.
    • Sherry
      Participant
      Chirps: 6
      sherrybay
      I once noticed a crow walking on one foot due to an injury on his other foot. Now I understand so much more about foot disease in crows.
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