• Erin
      Participant
      Chirps: 7
      I've had a pair coming to the yard for about two years now, once in a while there are three of them up to a high of nine for a few weeks last fall! I wish so much that I knew who they were to each other, though I imagine they are a family group. There has been a lot of very interesting behaviour from them, one usually stands sentry while the other ones eat, and they almost always leave something for the sentry crow to take at the end, which is cool. Last spring they vanished for April and May, I assume for nesting purposes. They returned in June with three babies, which were as big as the adults, but obviously babies from their behaviour. The babies were MUCH braver than my pair, venturing much further into the yard, spending much more time on the ground and hopping around and on everything. I guess since no harm came to them, they are all much braver now and spent a lot more time here. They even will wait in the tree if I'm going out to the feeders instead of flying away. This spring I still see at least one every day, and have seen three here and there, so I'm not sure what that means for nesting. The one in particular is much more comfortable around me. This spring too I have noticed more quarrelling among them, I assume this 'third' crow is the issue. It never seems serious, thankfully, but loud and with some chasing. I'm very interested in see if some babies will make an appearance. The crows are much louder than the other birds, and much more likely to stick around when I'm outside, they also are not at all bothered by our (senior) dog, unlike the other birds, and will still come to eat if he's out in the yard. I absolutely think they know that he is no threat to them. I have a bird bath that I deep clean weekly and change the water in daily in the summer to prevent mosquitoes. I also have started planting flowers that are supposed to deter mosquitoes, I don't know how true that is, but it can't hurt - marigolds, citronella mostly.
    • Kat
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      I have been observing and feeding a family of 8 crows for 3 years. I notice that every April, they stop visiting daily and come around less often, I’m assuming due to nest building, egg incubation and care of the babies. About 4-6 weeks later, they resume daily food visits, with new fledged baby crows in tow!
    • Maureen
      Participant
      Chirps: 6
      1. Some years ago, we had a torrential all-night rain. I went out to my garden the next morning. A pair of  crows were very agitated and the closer I got to my garden, the more frantically they called. I knew there had to be a youngster. Sure enough, I found him on the ground, cold and soaking wet, shivering and weak. I got a box to put him in, dried him off and coaxed some canned dog food into him. My 10 year old son was so excited, having always wanted a pet crow. I told him we could make sure this young one was well and strong enough to be released but he had to be wild and with his family. The next morning, after my son fed his little friend, we went outside. There were two crows calling up in the trees. I thought it could be the parents so my brave son got "his" crow and we let it out on the patio. Immediately, the two other crows flew down to it. There was the most uncanny conversation among the parents and fledgling. Quiet, un-crowlike clucking noises. And off they all went. Our young bird was indeed able to fly; he had only been unable because he was so cold. 2. When I was a  child, a nest of baby robins blew down during a storm. My mother took them in, conscripted us kids into worm-digging, and she fed them every two to three hours until they became a little older. And every day, there was a tapping on the kitchen window by two adult robins. She put the chicks on the lawn and the adults fed them for half an hour or so. This went on for a couple of weeks. So some other birds are as dedicated to their families and have the moxy of crows. 3. Keep the water in your pond moving with pump. Mosquitoes lay their eggs in still water.
    • Autumn
      Participant
      Chirps: 4
      1. Winter 2019, I lived in the second story of a kayak building. Many crows gathered on the balcony. Watching them one day, they would puff u their bodies, huddle close side by side, and droop their bodies over their legs. Couldn't even see their legs. Sometimes they'd regurgitate pellets... some preening.. 2. Way more social amongst one another and other animals. 3. ........plant more citronella?
    • Mary
      Participant
      Chirps: 2
      where can I find a track of the "whining" tune a female crow makes when she is on the nest?
      • Elizabeth
        Bird Academy
        Dr. McGowan provided this link to a file of a female American crow doing the incubation-start call. It is from his webpage describing how to tell the difference between fish crows and American crows, which may also be of interest to you. You can access the full page here.
    • Last fall, there was a dead squirrel, probably roadkill, on the street right outside my house. In the morning, I observed a family of crows (about 5 individuals) feeding on it, and noticed like it was mentioned in this lesson that there was a sentry perched atop a tree right nearby, watching for danger. The family was there for a brief period before the sentry alerted them and all the crows flew away. They did not return to the carcass (I was working from home and observing and had my eye on it for most of the day), but much later in the day around 4-5pm a Turkey Vulture did arrive and finish of most of the carcass.
    • Amy
      Participant
      Chirps: 7
      I have a family of crows that lives on my street. In the summer, they will hop around on the pavement and find bugs, which they will then feed to each other. It is so interesting to watch them feed each other and allopreen!
    • Tammy Tyrrell
      Participant
      Chirps: 2
      This applies to the family factor and touches West Nile.  We have a four year old American crow Loki. He was found at about the three week stage on the ground trying to survive. To early to be out of the nest the parents were trying to feed and care for him. Luckily for him he was found and brought to living skies wildlife rehabilitation center. I work with this amazing organization. We assessed his and he had a few things wrong. The worst being West Nile. I poorly set broken leg dehydration as well as very underweight. We managed to actually pull him through all of this. He was a very determined little guy. Point of story. Loki was found in my area of town and that's where we raised him. Occasionally one of his parents or older siblings would leave food by Loki as he played outside. To this day they still show interest in him and this year adopted a fledgling that was orphaned.
    • Deborah
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      06013122-73BB-4E73-B5A5-5D37C19F322A I have been following crows in my backyard in Andover Ma for 5 years. It started with a couple, this year there are 8.  They call me from the tree. Occasionally a hawk will appear and they rally together to shoo him away. I do put food out, in the hopes they will come close, but they are very skittish. CBD9B23F-CC3D-4F88-889B-BCFBBB50CE77
    • alice
      Participant
      Chirps: 14
      1 &2.  After taking this class - this summer when i am in our weekend home (where there are very recent population of crows who regularly use my property as a stomping ground) I will watch and observe more diligently.  Since these crows are very new to our home this past summer - i have been struck more by their comings and goings. What I have seen is that crows seem to be - for lack of better words - organized.  They move with purpose, they communicate quite often and seem to have a regular and purposeful set of activities which they engage in.  Almost a schedule.  For instance - there is lawn time for insect eating, there is the large half dead tree time, there is sit on the dock time - I have no idea what they are doing at the crack of dawn but it is quite loud.  I think their communication is quite remarkable because even now i pay attention when i hear them making a fuss to see what is happening!  I can’t wait for summer to see them in action - with more information under my belt to make meaningful observations. 3.  Clearing out and dispersing any areas of standing water is the best mosquito prevention i know of.  
    • MADELINE
      Participant
      Chirps: 4
      I've been watching and feeding crows un Rockport MA  since the big snow of ?7years ago; I had to crawl out over a snow bank to give them bread that I made into balls in my fist. In the spring I noticed they soaked their bread in the bird bath -- and experimented with a crab shell that just turned putrid so they did not try that again. I was interested because a neighbor over the hill -- not far "as the crow flies" -- had raised an injured crow on bread soaked in water and let him/her loose .. I wondered if he/she taught the behavior to offspring. Our little group have continued to do that ever since. We variably see 2, then 2+3/4 or as many as 7 as the summer goes on -- this year siblings noticeably supported a weak nestling as it negotiated branches. They share food by placing a sentinel that calls to the others to join the feast. They know my call when I feed them, recognize me when I walk around the garden (by demanding more food) and I even think they know my car ... Recently a small crow has appeared intimidated by a handsome large one, but follows him/her deferentially to share food --are they going to pair off?
    • Cathy
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      I walk my dogs almost daily in a park near my house.  For two years there was a crow that was clearly sick or disabled in some way, as I never saw it fly and it was missing feathers.  When ever I saw him/her while I was walking with my dogs the others crows would fly over and protect the one crow and usher it away from us.  I was always busy keeping my dogs away  from them so did not study it as much as I wished I had.  I was amazed that it was able to live so long with what ever issues it had, but clearly its family protected it.
    • 1. There is a family of crows that often hang out in my neighborhood. There are probably around 9 individuals. I usually see them foraging together in the road, and they are quite loud and excitable. Other times I will observe 1 or 2 of them watching me in the garden, and they will be very quiet, they will then fly away as if to report to the others. 2. They are so smart and social. I once saw 3 crows playing with a dead rat in town. One would fly up high with the rat, drop it, and then another would swoop in, catch it and fly up. Most birds I observe seem to either be looking for food, staking territory, or wooing a mate. Crows, ravens and other corvids really seem to value doing things just for the sheer fun of it. 3. We can take steps to make sure there is no standing water in our yards, as well as other measures to decrease mosquito populations.
    • Karrin
      Participant
      Chirps: 47
      After this lesson, I am going to actively look in my neighborhood for a family of crows. (Also, I am delighted to have a new word in my vocabulary: allopreening!)
    • Elaine
      Participant
      Chirps: 9
      1.  There is a family of  about seven crows that lives behind my yard in the wooded area.  They often fly and forage for food together and rest on our trees.  I notice a lot of cawing between these crows - and the cawing takes on a rhythmic pulse which seems to be a form of communication, much like Morse code.  Next, other crows respond in the same rhythm and then will take an action, such as fly to a meeting place.  I have never seen any other birds communicate in such a fashion. 2.  Other birds do not communicate the way crows do with rhythmic sounds that mean something.  I do see other species of birds in flocks or with mates, however, but they don't seem to have as much of a personal interaction in the same way crows do. 3.  We can keep down the mosquito population by making sure we eliminate areas of standing water on our properties whenever possible.  Mosquitoes breed in standing water.
    • Lisa
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      IMG_0210 A California Mockingbird dive bombing a crow who was too close to the nest. (Sacramento CA)
    • Aline
      Participant
      Chirps: 2
      Greetings, everyone! This was a wonderful segment, thank you. Crow behavior:  I haven't had a chance lately to watch crows, but spring/summer 2019 I watched a family forage outside a window at my parents' place, which was kind of a hilly strip of land shaded by redwood and pepper trees (this is on the west coast).  I put out some food (sorry, I know now not great choices, but could have been worse) like almonds, granola, oats, maybe some strips of turkey coldcuts.  It was a family with relentlessly begging kiddies. One bird usually came and perched on a tree overlooking the area where I laid out the treats, and it scouted out the area; then after a while, the group would arrive.  Then one would sit up the hillside as sentry.  The adult birds really did look harried.  The almonds were not edible for them as whole almonds; I found some spewed back up.  But the birds did like almonds and started to hold them down with a foot and peck vigorously at them, eating the shards. Sometimes only one bird would arrive and pick up something and fly away with it.  I don't know if this bird was in the same family as the birds who came in a group. I remember WNV well.  I live on the east coast in a big city.  There used to be crow calls and I would see crows in the area, and then all of a sudden, there weren't.  I was very sad about this.  Only now (2020) am I starting to hear a few.  Whenever I see standing water, I get sad, because standing water supports mosquito population growth, and mosquitoes are how WNV gets around.  I will never qualify as a buddhist, because I do not refrain from killing mosquitoes at every opportunity.  The best way to curb this disease, and as a side benefit, diseases like Zika and anything else that goes around by mozzie, is to remove mozzie habitat.  Not easy in this part of the country.  
      • Karrin
        Participant
        Chirps: 47
        I am jealous that you were able to see a crow family in action up close!
    • Karen
      Participant
      Chirps: 6
      1. This is the coolest thing I'll probably learn from this lecture--that crow families are tight. Some time ago, we had what must have been a family of 4 with us for several years. Ultimately they disappeared, and we didn't see nearly as many crows for a while. Just this year a family of six showed up: They have been with us all summer. May they remain with us!
    • Diane
      Participant
      Chirps: 6
      I've watched a family of crows forage with lookouts warning those on the ground.  I've also noticed smaller birds diving at crows in the air when the crows are close to their nests.  Crows seem to be louder and in larger groups than other birds. Bat boxes might be a good way to decrease the mosquito problem.
    • Lynn
      Participant
      Chirps: 8
      I have been watching smaller birds in my backyard pretty closely, the crows less so.  However, what is clear is they are the organizing watch out force.    I've seen the nest in a tall fir on my property.    Will study. more. Good point in comments to keep the bird bath clean.  I wipe it with a paper towel before adding new water.
    • Vicki g
      Participant
      Chirps: 21
      QUESTION - How is everyone feeding crows, without also attracting rats, or (more benign but unwelcome by me) wild turkeys??? I have only recently, very conservatively, resumed feeding birds in a couple of feeders right at the very back edge of my samll property, close to a woodsy patch. I LOVE the way the feeders attract birds, but after having had an issue rodent two years ago (and a known problem in our county) I am nervous about doing more.  Would love any advice! Meanwhile, there are times of lots of crows in our neighborhood and I look forward to their return for more observation. Right now, I more often just see one or two gingerly mixing with the shore birds at the beach. I am glad to know of their family associations to to view them with a new perspective.
      • MADELINE
        Participant
        Chirps: 4
        We happen to have an old weeping cherry tree with a horizontal hollow limb and a lot of forks. So I hide cat food and table scraps there about mid-morning-- the seagulls cannot get between the tree branches, and the food is gone before the racoons and foxes come out in the evening.
      • I think some people that feed crows may live in areas where rats aren't around.   One solution however is plant things that crows like to eat such as sumac trees. (seeds)    
      • Erin
        Participant
        Chirps: 7
        Mine come early in the morning, and I just put out what I have learned they will take in one go. We had a rat problem in our neighbourhood a few summers ago, so I get what you're saying. I moved my feeders to the very back of the yard, away from the house. I also went to feeding them on a large flat stump (platform feeder style) rather that with bird feeders. I also started buying much more expensive birdseed (look for 'no mess') so the birds don't throw it on the ground, but eat it. For the crows specifically, trial and error has helped me know what they will take right away and how much, so that's all I put out - when it's gone, that's it for the day, then it isn't sitting around for rodents. So far so good!
    • 2. Crows  don't really compare with other any other birds I've seen except parrots. Parrots have close family ties and are very intelligent
    • Erin
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      I have two crows that visit my house every morning, and I often see them allopreening. Does this mean they are most likely siblings? Or do mated crows do this as well?
    • Audrey
      Participant
      Chirps: 5
      4. Bat boxes are very good. Bats eat mosquitoes. Thus, less mosquitoes, less bites... less bites, less infected prey... less infected prey, less sick crows... Less sick crows, happy crow lovers... more crows, better life!(;
      • Yes! Bats (which are also under siege by diseases) are incredibly important for keeping insect pests—particularly mosquitos—in check.
    • Roberta
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      A family of crows were foraging in our rural upstate NY (southern tier) yard one afternoon when a red tail hawk swooped in and pinned one of them to the ground.  The others immediately when into a crazed cawing fit, flying at the hawk, circling and swooping down at it.  Soon several more crows flew in from the neighbors property up the hill.  They all work together to harass this hawk and it finally flew away with a few crows chasing it.  The attacked crow stood up after resting a few minutes.  It seemed to be uninjured except for a couple wing feathers that were bent and hung down dragging on the ground.  We could easily identify the lucky crow the rest of that year, we named him funny feather.
      • Karen
        Participant
        Chirps: 6
        We saw something similar happen at our home in Central Maryland: The hawk chased a crow into the window and then took the stunned bird off in its talons. The family took off after it, frantically harassing. We saw the whole family of four thereafter--success.