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    • Bird Academy
      Bird Academy
      Bird_Academy
      1. Your neighbor is complaining about the American Crows killing all the songbird nestlings.  What would you say to him/her?
      2. Where have you seen American Crows?  Based on what you learned in this lesson, see if you can locate a crow’s nest (keeping a respectful distance) and share what you found.
      3. You’ve seen the range map for the American Crow.  Here is the range map for Common Ravens. Raven range map Do you live where there are both species?  If so, can you now distinguish between them? What differences have you noticed in their behavior?
      4. What birds and other animals might benefit from having crows around? Why? How?
      You must be enrolled in the course to reply to this topic.
    • Bonny
      Participant
      Chirps: 6
      OvertheRainbow
      I was surprised to read in "All about birds"  they will "eat almost anything...and chicks they rob from nests."  It seems to contradict what I just learned here.
    • Anne-Marie
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      penguindubois
      2.  I live in Vancouver BC, Canada and crows are around me all day long. They visit us on our deck and we watch their behaviour with their young ones and families. Here is a picture from Christmas, 2 years ago, of a pair who are regulars at our home.  They are very loving to each other and so sweet to watch.  Every morning the crows fly into Vancouver from Burnaby, east of here,2AD862E5-AE31-4448-B1B0-A755C7042886 where they roost each evening. Just before dusk, they fly back to Burnaby together for the evening. It is so beautiful to watch them in the sky fly to the roost and back to us
    • Isabelle
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      imorley
      1. Based on the research it's clear that although crows are predators of songbird young, they are not a main predator and in fact squirrels/snakes are much more detrimental to songbird populations. Many animals eat young birds, might not be fair to penalize the crow for this! I actually hadn't held this against crows, not realizing this was a stigma some people had about this bird. I usually think of hawks and other birds of prey when it comes to eating baby birds.   3. I'm in MA where we have lots of crows and some ravens. I've only seen two here, and only identified them by their very different call. Learning the other ways of differentiating them is so helpful- especially the long shiny feathers on their chest.
    • Sara
      Participant
      Chirps: 5
      sarabethell
      I live in Portland, Oregon, and sometimes it seems that there are more crows here than people. They fly toward the Willamette River as the sun sets and then away from the river in the morning. At dusk, before their trip downtown, dozens hang out in the trees near where I live (2 miles east of the river) and hoot and holler. One evening I was by the river as the sun set and saw hundreds if not thousands of crows. Years back, a friend was staying at a hotel downtown and couldn't believe the nonstop stream of crows that flew by her 8th floor window. If I recall the map correctly, there are no crows in Seattle. That is sad. People who have lived here a long time say that there are many more crows now. The only raven I remember seeing was at Death Valley and it was huge.
    • Patrick
      Participant
      Chirps: 2
      PatrickHearn
      1. Crows are one of the wonderful sentinels that are always alerting us to what is happening in the neighborhood. Listening to them often tells us where the predators are working. 4. I live outside Orangeville, Ontario, Canada. We have both Crows and Ravens in this area, despite the range map not quite including us. There were a pair of Ravens in the 20-acre woodlot behind my house this summer and numerous crows loved to roost in this area during the fall. Is the territory of Ravens changing? Any idea of the key factors influencing the change?
    • Keith
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      daviscomm
      I live in Calgary, Alberta approximately a one-hour drive from the Rocky Mountains and the famous  resort town of Banff.  Given that we are in the Foothills region of the Rocky Mountains, we get a healthy population of Crows, Ravens, Magpies, Blue Jays and Stellar Jays each spring and summer.  Some of those birds will winter in the Calgary area, but many more will migrate south.  As described in the course material we find the crows to be highly social and gregarious, not to mention noisy.  They are also very skilled flyers and at times seem to take to the air simply to enjoy flying and practicing their aerobatics.  The ravens we have around are much more solitary and not nearly so noisy.  They generally sit on a higher vantage point and watch carefully for any food they may spot, such as road kill, a plastic garbage bag, etc.  I normally spend a fair bit of time in the outdoors (mountains and plains) and, as noted in the course materials, we often rely on the calls of the crow or a nervous squirrel to warn us of anything unusual that may be on the trail ahead.  Of course, they also tell all other birds and animals where we are, too.
    • p
      Participant
      Chirps: 3
      fragaria
      if my neighbor is complaining about crows killing songbirds, I think I would share the information graph from this first lesson and suggest putting out some dog food for them to eat instead :) I have lots of crows around my house, and have seen nesting pairs make nests in coniferous and deciduous trees, about 20+ feet up. I have seen both crows and ravens where I live (central BC), but crows are definitely more common.  Ravens seem to like being near water (the local river, and lots more closer to the ocean). Other creatures that would benefit from having crows around are:  my family dog, as he waits for the crows to flip the lid off of the garbage cans, and tip them over.  then he can get right in there and feast! I know other birds like having crows around because they chase off the squirrels.  I've never seen crows predating on the other birds in my yard, but maybe that's because they are finding food elsewhere (like my garbage can, and the dogfood I put out for them).
    • jane
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      Jane G.
      I would suggest that blue jays might be the culprit who is stealing baby birds from the nest. I have seen that happen on more than one occasion.  Also, squirrels are known to predate on birds nest on both the eggs and nestlings.
    • Karrin
      Participant
      Chirps: 14
      klukacs
      Your neighbor is complaining about the American Crows killing all the songbird nestlings.  What would you say to him/her? I would try to share the graphic that clearly indicates the most common nestling predators (which I found to be very interesting). I am not sure if I have ever heard that crows were responsible for killing baby birds; if you were to ask me before Lesson 1 what I knew (or thought I knew) about crows, I would've said that they were noisy. Now that I have completed Lesson 1, I have already learned so much:
      • Some crows use tools.
      • Ravens are the "pointy all over" birds.
      • What my mom keeps calling grackles are probably not.
    • Susan
      Participant
      Chirps: 2
      ssl266
      1. While American Crows will sometimes eat songbird nestlings, the biggest predators of them are snakes and squirrels, accounting for over 50% of the predation. Even insects destroy more nestlings than crows. 2. Lots of places. 3. No. 4. Many other birds because of crows warning system, larger birds that prey on the crows, Great-horned Owls that use their nests, humans because they eat pest rodents.
    • Darrell
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      rdarrellboyle
      1. Crows will kill songbird nestlings but they play a minor role. Squirrels and snakes, and many other critters, do more damage. Crows represent about 3% of nestling death. 3. I see them both and will find it easier now to identify them, although it's not always easy in flight. 4. They warn all animals of danger.
    • Elaine
      Participant
      Chirps: 6
      Elaine0421
      1.  I actually have a neighbor who greatly dislikes crows.  I would tell her that it most likely isn't crows that are killing nestlings, but squirrels, chipmunks and snakes are more likely the culprits. 2.  I have about 7 crows that live in the woods directly behind my house and property.  I have not actually seen their nest, but I know approximately where it is as I have seen them flock to the same location a lot.  I also know when a hawk invades their nest as quite a commotion ensues.  I have also seen the crows warn me when a fox was approaching.  He was looking for my pet rabbit whom we had in an outside pen the day before and he attacked her.  When the fox came back, the crows sent out a very loud and unrelenting scolding.  I ran out to see what was happening.  Mr. Fox turned right around and headed back to the woods when he saw he was outnumbered.  You can bet our rabbit never was outside like that again. 3.  I think where I live is just out of the range for the raven, but I think I have, on very rare occasion, seen ravens around here.  I haven't seen enough to know how their behavior differs, but I don't think they communicate in the same way with each other as the crows do. 4.  Animals, such as owls, who use their abandoned nests and they are a food source for predators, though it seems they stand up to about any creature, so I can't imagine they are anyone's meal too often.
    • Crystal
      Participant
      Chirps: 3
      Cris720
      1. I would suggest my neighbor set up a camera to see if it could be squirrels instead. 2. I have seen American and Fish Crows all around Monmouth County, NJ. 3. I live where there are mainly crows. I haven't been able to observe a nest though. 4.The owls that would take over their nests. Other birds that would live nearby that would be on the lookout for bigger prey. Such as the eagle that lives nearby. I have seen crows try to chase the bigger birds away.
      • Karrin
        Participant
        Chirps: 14
        klukacs
        Ooh, I think suggesting that your neighbor set up a camera to observe is a GREAT idea!
    • sandra
      Participant
      Chirps: 3
      kiwisandra
      1#. I have not seen evidence of crows eating baby birds ..if fact quite the reverse..The crows  and ravens seem off put and back away from smaller birds flocks on the ground and in the air .. Crows and Ravens are scavengers ..I watched  yesterday  a Raven pecking out a used yoghurt container ..it was comical .. Turned this container every which way,  stood on it flew up on a shelf with it, realized  opps a mistake..could not hold and peck  at the same time , so followed the container down again on the ground 2#. Not spied a crows nest yet.. I live in the foothills with loads of trees.. crows  and ravens love  to stay out of the heat ,,  they stay together in the same sheltered area.. hiding themselves until the heat subsides and dinner is on the menu around 3-5 pm .. certainly birds of habit 3#.. can distinguish them.  , although they do flock together when theres food for the offering .Notice thay fly and roost together but more with their mate ..coupling up.. 4# Have seen evidence that Red Hawks  watch crows and ravens .. Only I hawk  will round  up and frighten a murder of crows .. .This.Hawk was very  fast swooping down  on these crows, .. the sun was out it was their dinner time when they congregate for food .. the hawk was not interested in the crows food,  it was the crows  themselves?  Or territorial ?  .. .. and it felt like murder in the sky to me.. .swoosh swoosh blacking  out the sun for a second back and forwards,  a frentic pace and fear  in the air.. I watched for 2-3 minutes .  Eventually the crows( not ravens) settled in a very tall tree together  and stayed there for at least 40 minutes, only watching quietly .. There was no play no movement no noise.. They then quietly flew away.. Territorial from the Red  Tailed Hawk? Other birds tend to stay away from crows.. but will come in 'after'  the crows have pecked  their way  looking for nibbles.. ..Im thinking the crows  long becks unearth other morsels for the smaller birds.. They peck away at gravel daily ..   there must be something they find in this gravel.. I see them pick it up then off to another spot.. and certain  little birds ..a smaller black variety I have not determined 'what' yet kind of mingle with the crows  at a safe place
    • Bonnie Lee
      Participant
      Chirps: 3
      notneb64
      Looking at the range map, I see ravens territory isn't around the Lake Ontario area. I live 12 miles from the Niagara River along the lake but we have seen ravens in our area. I learned how to ID them from this course using tail feathers and wing feathers. When we were kids, our parents told us crows will sound the alarm in the woods when an intruder was around. True? As far as crows killing other birds, cats and other animals do far more damage. Bonnie
      • Lee Ann van Leer
        Bird Academy
        LilacRoller
        Yes. Crows make good sentinels. They will give alarm calls if they spot something that could be a threat.
    • S
      Participant
      Chirps: 2
      smarcus22
      I was surprised to learn that , like squirrels, chipmunks are also omnivores and all of those related cuties are more responsible for nest predation than crows.
      • Catharine
        Participant
        Chirps: 3
        catwomyn1999
        I was very surprised also to learn that chipmunks eat baby birds!  I had not realized until recently that squirrels did so, but in the spring, I witnessed a squirrel stealing a baby Mockingbird -- with one of the parents in hot pursuit -- which was a rude awakening.  To think that these cute little chipmunks are also baby bird predators is an eye-opener.
    • Karen
      Participant
      Chirps: 6
      kbandeen
      4. I perceive that our songbirds greatly benefit from the local crows. The crows act as the sheriffs in town, sounding the alarm when raptors are nearby. I've seen our crows chase hawks as they initiate a foray toward the smaller birds.... The people also benefit: Their antics keep us happy. (Example: Pair of crows playing with a groundhog, alternating in pecking the groundhog's hindquarters just to see him jump!)
    • Brenda
      Participant
      Chirps: 2
      Littlelibbey
      • 649B3F64-7EDC-491C-8D4D-AB88ED12CC5E
    • Diane
      Participant
      Chirps: 6
      djohnson6141
      1. I would say that actually more nestlings are killed by snakes and chipmunks and crows only invade about 2% of the time. 2. I grew up in Louisiana and Mississippi and live in North Georgia now so I guess Ive mostly seen crows and not ravens. I also lived in central Virginia for many years so perhaps I have seen Ravens there as well as crows. I am hoping to be able to tell the difference between the two now. 3.I live in an area where only crows live. We will be moving to West Virginia in a few years. I can't tell by the map if Ravens are in WEst Virginia. 4. I'm not sure why other animals might benefit from crows other than their warning sounds.
    • Fionnuala
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      fsomerville37
      2) I live in the UK, so I'm more familiar with Carrion crow, but want to do the course because I'm interested in crows and haven't seen anything like this course in the UK. Can anyone tell me any differences between carrion and American crow, other than location, because they look the same to me and we use exactly the same features to distinguish carrion from raven here? Hopefully I can come and see the American ones someday. Carrion crow seem to be absolutely everywhere over here. In England people often say crows are solitary, whereas rooks are the social ones, but I think this is just a local myth because there are huge flocks of crows in the fields near where I live. (Rooks are another corvid very common in the UK, but easily distinguishable when close because they have a bare face. They make such huge nesting colonies that apparently house prices go down if they nest nearby because of the terrific noise.) I  love them because they are smart, create a lot of atmosphere and they all have different sounding voices. 3) Wild ravens are uncommon in the city in the UK. I've seen them make a huge nest in castle ruins. I'm not sure if I've ever seen a crow's nest. 4) I think they might help alert squirrels and other birds and small mammals to approaching foxes, cats or raptors. I imagine they also help keep parks clean by eating up some of the leftovers people throw there, sometimes for the ducks. 1) I've never heard anyone complain much about crows where I live in the city, but apparently farmers shoot them because they say crows attack lambs etc, but if my neighbour did complain I would explain about squirrels taking more baby birds and especially domestic cats. We hardly have any snakes here. I once saw a crow attacking an injured adult magpie. It was really going for it, but the other magpies were furious and all gathered round to try to protect the injured one from the crow. I've not seen that before and found that quite interesting. People often complain about magpies here eating baby birds too.
    • Leanna
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      Lstoufer
      Re: #2    I live in an area that has many crows.  I hear them when I am first getting up, at around 4am, and then again at twilight (currently around 7pm). They caw, and chatter back and forth, and it is such a lovely, raucous sound!  I have not really seen their nests (or at least I haven't been sure if the nests I saw were the crows' or other birds). I will be paying more attention as I learn more about them!
    • Chuck
      Participant
      Chirps: 2
      chuck.passentino
      1. I would ask my neighbor how she feels about crows and ravens before I address her false assumption that American Crows kills baby birds. She probably believes this false assumption because she does not crows due to their evil jet black color, gregariousness and noisiness, and their constant group partying. I would then assure her that the baby birds are normally victims of squirrels, chipmunks, and snakes, not crows. I would also add that other bird species like jays and raptors devour more nestlings than American Crows. Finally, I'd cite the Cornell Lab as my source and encourage her to check out the facts for herself. 2. I see American Crows everywhere in my neighborhood in Santee, California. A crow family lives in the Chinaberry tree in my backyard, and I have observed hundreds going to roost in the riparian forests along the San Diego River at dusk. Observing the American Crows nested in the backyard Chinaberries, the female spends more time in the nest and clucks like a chicken. 3. Both crows and raven live in my neighborhood. I have observed both. An American Crow is distinct from Common Ravens, as big or larger than a Red Tail Hawk. Ravens have shaggy throat and nasal feathers and a long stout bill. The Common Ravens tail feathers are diamond  shaped when in flight; American Crows have rounded tail feathers. Common Ravens have four wing fingers; American Crows have five. Crows caw while Ravens make a gurgling croak. Most of what I see and know is crow, but I have a craven to study the raven. 4. American Crows are excellent seed distributors, so plants and trees grow providing food and shelter for many animals in an ecosystem. They are also voracious insect eaters, so they are natural pest control agents.  American Crows also eat earthworms, mice, lizards, and snakes. Their nests are very well built and used by Great Horned Owl, which does not build its own nest. The Great Horned Owl also preys on American Crows.
    • Julie
      Participant
      Chirps: 13
      juliehoskins
      1. I would let them know that snakes and the abundant squirrels we have are more likely to be killing the nestlings, great fact I just learned from this course. 2. Our property has a large amount of open space and oak trees, we see them here all the time. I believe we have seen nests but will look more carefully now to see if the are crews’ nests. We also have seen them dipping garbage (bread, tortillas, pizza) in our backyard fountain to soften it before eating.... 3. We are in Southern California, so yes, both live hear. I will know now to look at the hard shape, tail and wing shape, and feather and flight patterns to identify. I believe based on the calls it will be easier to identify also. 4. I definitely know that other animals benefit from the “early warning system” crows provide when there is a predator in the area. We have bobcats and coyotes, and crows will often notify the entire neighborhood when a bobcat is coming through. The squirrels and smaller birds disappear. We humans appreciate the notification also, and when we hear the crows we go out to make sure the neighbor’s dog is in....
      • Sara
        Participant
        Chirps: 5
        sarabethell
        Yes, I have seen them use the birdbath to dip their food as well!
    • Linda
      Participant
      Chirps: 2
      LindaHarmony
      If a neighbor complained about crows eating baby birds, I would agree, but tell them that squirrels, chipmunks, snakes, and raccoons eat a lot more baby birds than crows do, citing the information from tis course. I remember hearing crows early in the morning year round when growing up in the Chicago suburbs. It was a sound I loved waking up to as a child, and have continued to treasure as an adult in New England. In Boston, I see crows in parks. In rural Maine, they are often along roadsides or in the woods. There are ravens and crows in Maine. I've spotted a raven a time or two but see crows often. I've also heard what I thought was the croak of a raven deep in the woods, but as I learn more about the crow's vocal repertoire, I'm not so sure. Any bird or rodent small enough to make a good meal for a hawk or eagle benefits from having a flock of crows in the neighborhood because the crows often mob large raptors.
    • Jeannie
      Participant
      Chirps: 2
      jbron24
      I have no trouble believing that squirrels prey on songbird nestlings far more than crows. Squirrels prey on everything including your screens and wiring. I would not know where to look for a crow's nest. I do live where there are both crows and ravens but I don't think I've ever seen a raven. We have many crows and I love watching them. When several gather they just seem like they have important things to discuss. My house overlooks a river so I don't see the crows from my balcony, they're in the trees in the neighborhoods behind me. But the raptors come, flying over the river. We have many eagles and also Peregrines. When they venture into the crows' territory I can hear the crows, and I usually get to watch several, chasing the falcon or the eagle out of the area. My main reason for loving crows is their attitude.
    • Lynn
      Participant
      Chirps: 8
      Lemmolo
      1.  I would suggest instead she has a snake in the garden or perhaps it might be the squirrels that are feeding on the seeds from her bird feeder. 2.  We have lot's of bird, and crows in Montauk, NY.   However the most fascinating Crow Jamberie I have ever seen was at the Rincon Center on Mission Street in San Francisco.  Each Fall literally hundreds meet for a few days at dusk to perch and caw on the former SF Post Office for a crow-fest or maybe they are ravens ??? 3.  Now on east coast; no ravens.   But on west coast, both.   Size and sound are the easiest differentiators; then hairy feathers.   Just learned about the feather count in flight.   Will be a great tool. 4.  In Montauk, we have lot's of bird varieties...The crows act as the sound alarm for danger for the smaller birds.  Once the crow sounds out, generally the Jays, Cardinals and Red Wing Blackbirds start making noise tool.     I have seen two crows chase a hawks that could be dangerous for smaller birds.    
    • Charles
      Participant
      Chirps: 2
      bollweevils2
      2. I’ve seen crows all over the place, including on my house and in my front and backyard in places.  Never been able to find a nest, though. 3. According to the maps, I live in a place that hosts both crows and ravens year-round.  I have seen both, and can better distinguish them now. We don’t see ravens often enough to notice behavior patterns here. 4. Other crows, at least.
    • Charles
      Participant
      Chirps: 2
      bollweevils2
      1.  The snakes & squirrels/chipmunks kill the most. Crows will do it if possible, but they’re way down the list, with deer & below ants. And crows are more fun.
    • Vicki g
      Participant
      Chirps: 21
      vickigoldsmith
      I am on Cape Cod on the coast in MA and we do not have ravens. Often crows are quite common and numerous and common to see. Lately I have just occasionally been hearing them, and seeing them infrequently, including singly, at the beach. Somehow I have come to associate their sound with fall ... we'll see. One thing I love about them is that when I hear them "mobbing" it tells me to stand still and watch for a while, and generally I will see a  beautiful hawk being chased off by them, and other smaller birds. I assume, in this way, they are benefiting the other smaller birds - sending up the hawk alarm, and all. I will ask some more experienced bird watching friends for some help in finding a nest --- I never thought to look and would not have a clue where to find.
    • Sandra
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      sandymalloy
      To neighbors who complain about crows eating baby birds, I would point out that many other animals eat them and in far greater numbers than crows do. We don't have chipmunks here but we do have plenty of squirrels, raccoons and possums and they all eat more nestlings than crows do. We don't have to look far to find crows. There are plenty in our California neighborhood. We do also have ravens. In addition to the clear size difference, and the noticeable difference in tail shape, crows tend to hang out in large flocks and ravens don't. I've not usually seen more than 2 ravens at a time. Alarm calls from crows alert all the birds in the neighborhood to the presence of danger. We've seen that with the resident red-shouldered hawks.
    • Lisa
      Participant
      Chirps: 13
      Lucylocket
      I would tell my neighbor that I used to feel the same way and if he actually saw the crow taking baby birds, it would be hard to argue but if he didn't, I would tell him about the whole "squirrel thing."  My dad used to HATE crows for that very reason but now he says that he has decided that the crow can't help what he has to eat and that most animals eat live things so he's eased up on the crow hate. I'm actually very relieved to know that it's squirrels that do more damage to baby birds. I've lived here in the Pacific Northwest and in South central Alaska and always see crows. Alaska seemed to have a lot more ravens than we get here - at least that I can see. There are usually WAY more crows present anywhere I go. I'd love to spot a nest. I don't think I've even noticed one. I can usually distinguish between the crow and raven. I got all but one right on the quizzes above! The raven seems less interested in garbage and people food. The main difference is the voice. I suppose the crow is good at annoying the crud out of eagles and hawks and making them move along. They also pick up a lot of road kill and scraps of people food from the ground.
    • J
      Participant
      Chirps: 2
      jdogstevens
      I live part-time in the Coachella Valley in Palm Desert, CA. We have both crows and ravens, though see many more crows. There is a program at The Living Desert here to make restaurant owners/managers aware that open dumpsters attract these birds. Having larger populations of ravens, particularly, is a problem for the endangered desert tortoise. When the young ones hatch, they are easy prey. Actively attracting them to areas where the tortoises are living and breeding is further endangering these wonderful creatures. The education has proved beneficial, as participating restaurants have begun closing or covering their dumpsters on average an additional 43 days annually. Some progress!
    • Sylvia
      Participant
      Chirps: 2
      SylviaAlleen
      While crows will eat the occasional baby bird, they eat only slightly more than white tailed deer do. I see the American crow daily in my neighborhood and very often in our yard as we feed them peanuts. We don't have Common Ravens in our area. I live in Alabama. I think birds and other animals benefit from crows in at least a couple of ways.  We have hawks in our area and the crows chase them away. They also yell loudly when there is a predictor around, such as a cat, which warns other birds and small animals. I haven't seen anything in the lesson yet for me to know how to locate a crow's nest.
    • Mr. Train
      Participant
      Chirps: 2
      jeftyrules
      Just curious:  After finishing this first lesson, should I know how to id a crow's nest?  I did not see any material on that yet, but I am hopeful to learn about it.   If my neighbor were badmouthing the crow I would tell him what I told my son this afternoon:  Crows don't really eat baby birds.  You mine as well hate dear, because they ate pretty much the same amount of baby birds as deer did.  I would also point out that if he does want to blame a creature for the destruction of those nests, he should look to the squirrels and chipmunks that he thinks are so "cute." I live nee NYC, and I though in my small city we don't see a ton of crows, I have noticed fish crows nearby more and more.  I am wondering, what is the link between the American and fish crow?  Are some of their behaviors similar?  Is the only way to distinguish them by the sound of their call?  I noticed that I do not see any fish crows on the ID with the ravens.  Is it possible to tell them apart?
      • Lee Ann van Leer
        Bird Academy
        LilacRoller
        I don't actually remember where in the course Dr. McGowan described crow nests. However I will tell you that they are very large very difficult to find. They are typically built near the top of a tree in a dense area of vegetation which makes them typically hard to find.  Here in the Ithaca, NY area the American Crows often build them in the upper portion of a conifer tree but once in awhile in a deciduous tree. However if places like San Diego they nest in palm trees too. Usually they are built so hidden one can't obtain photos of them. However I will link you to some that were not hidden as well usual.   https://macaulaylibrary.org/asset/228943851          Nest in Wisconsin Their nests are very well built and strong. Other birds will use or even steal a crow nest and use it for their own nest such as a Merlin or a Great-horned Owl.
      • Lee Ann van Leer
        Bird Academy
        LilacRoller
        The spot that he describes where to find crow nests and shows images is in this topic: Crow Research Techniques
    • Teresa
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      teresarobeson
      1. Using the graphic in this lecture, I'd say that besides deer, crows prey on baby birds the least and that biggest predators of baby birds are snakes in the south and squirrels and chipmunks in the north. 2. I've been to 47 states and 5 provinces and have seen American Crows in all those places. 3. We don't have ravens where we live now but we see them often when I visit family in the Pacific Northwest. The size and beaks help me tell them apart. I've not observed enough raven behavior enough to distinguish them by that trait. 4. Our flock of chickens benefit from having crows around because not only do they sound the alarm when they see hawks (primarily Red-tailed and Red-shouldered, but often also Coopers, in our area), they also mob them, giving the chickens time to run and hide.
    • Audrey
      Participant
      Chirps: 5
      AQHall
      1.   I  would probably tell my neighbor that squirrels kill more baby birds than American Crows; if they did not believe me, I would simply tell them about the study showing how squirrels and chipmunks kill more nestlings than raccoons, cats, and weasels, and that squirrels kill almost as many baby birds as snakes. If she (or he) still complains, I would probably say "I'm sorry you feel that way." Then, I would probably leave. :)
    • Deborah
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      djefsantone
      The squirrels and songbirds in my yard are warned by the flock of crows who visit everyday, whenever hawks and cats enter the yard.
    • Rebecca
      Participant
      Chirps: 6
      Rebecca_Houseman
      I would try to educate them that snakes and squirrels are bigger predators. I would try to educate the neighbor as to the amazing things that crows can do.
    • Kelly
      Participant
      Chirps: 5
      kweymouth
      12/27/19 1. I would ask the neighbor if they actually saw a Crow kill a songbird. I would show the neighbor the statistics. I would tell them to watch the Starlings and Blue Jays because those two are the real culprits. 2. I have seen a Crow nest and decoy nests. Their nest is large and full of sticks. Their decoy nests are not as full as their real nest. They chase Ravens away. 3. I live in Maine. We have both American Crows and Ravens. The Ravens that swing through have a more throaty sound. They are much larger than the Crows. 4. Seagulls and Starlings benefit from having Crows around. As soon as the Crows start talking the others come around.
    • Debra
      Participant
      Chirps: 9
      naturgal
      1. I will tell my neighbor that squirrels and chipmunks are the biggest predators of baby birds and that actually jays and crows are near the bottom of the list , along with deer . 2. I have 3 crows that come to visit in Hamburg Twp., Michigan. They like walking along the middle of the dirt road, maybe pecking for salt in the winter. They will also look around in the leaf litter and under the feeders. I would like to find a nest, but most likely their nest is on private property in the woods beyond my neighbor's home. 3. The raven is not found near me, but maybe I can see one sometime in northern Michigan. I will note that the crow has more rounded features than the raven and 5 longer wing feathers . 4. Owls will use nests left behind by crows. They also warn other birds of hawks, become the prey of larger predators, and help spread seeds. They help keep the food web in check by eating insects and rodents.
    • Michele
      Participant
      Chirps: 5
      MGarlick
      I was surprised to learn that there is a crow hunting season in California where I live.  Much of this seems to rest on the idea that crows destroy crops and kill waterfowl - negatively impacting farmers and hunters and carry West Nile virus.  Curious to know the counter-arguments and statistics to these statements. https://www.wonews.com/t-CAGunsHunt_HuntingCrows_013119.aspx Guess I was surprised because on one hand they are protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act 1918. Michele
    • Rosalie
      Participant
      Chirps: 3
      dearosalie
      I live in Southern California in the wild lands and we have both crows and ravens. My neighbor actually has complained to me about corvids killing nestlings, so I was really happy to learn from the pie chart that crows make up a very small percentage of song bird predators. Next time I see her I will tell her that snakes and squirrels make up 50% of predators, followed by raccoons, ants, mice.. I am not sure yet how to locate a crow's nest. We had a pair of ravens in our canyon this spring and I wasn't able to locate their nest either. I see ravens more frequently than crows in our particular canyon, but I have seen crows in other areas near by, primarily in more populated neighborhoods in backyards, trash cans, and flying. I volunteer at our local wildlife hospital and have been fortunate to see both crows and ravens close up. It's more difficult to distinguish them in flight, but close up it's easier to see that the ravens are twice the size and have a more protuberant or "ugly" beak. The crows look like a sleeker, more streamlined, more elegant bird. I've been paying more attention to the differences in their sounds. I love all the gurgly sounds that ravens make. I'm not sure I've been around them enough to notice behavioral differences and I look forward to that. Owls benefit from crows being around because they like to use their nests. Crows are the "neighborhood watch" for other wildlife. They dispense seeds.
    • Gregory
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      Greg Allen
      I live in central Ohio where there are no ravens.  Crows are common but not quite ubiquitous.   Kevin McGowan mentioned in a video for the online crow course that crows(American) like pines and the tallest trees in the area for their nests.  While working a fundraiser in a commercial area with less then optimal birding, I birded as I could.  Crows were usually around.  I observed one land in the top of an Eastern White Pine(Pinus strobus) tree in a bank parking lot across the street.   Then it dawned on me.  I looked around and saw no other close by trees of size, let alone pines.  The foliage is dense so it is hard to make out a nest in there but I highly suspect there is.  What is not to love from the crow's perspective?  People provide these planted pines for housing, and fast food trash for board.  Eastern Redcedar(Juniperus virginiana) is largely the only native conifer in the area.   Sure, they could work to find food in natural areas, but why?  They are smart.  Gregory S. Allen
    • Barbara J
      Participant
      Chirps: 3
      BarbaraJKimm
      I love crows. At first I didn’t. One day I was running in my neighborhood and a crow flew up low behind me and pecked me really hard on the top of my head. Then everyday it did that no matter what side of the street I used. Then it began to notice me a block away, cawing at me and continued to peck me on the head. Finally I avoided that street out of fear but a year later decided to run on it again. Sure enough, a year later, the crow saw me, flew down and pecked me hard on the top of my head. I could never figure out what I had done to that crow unless it was to inadvertently run under a tree where it had babies. Later I read about the University of Washington studies about how crows recognize faces and I became intrigued and started learning more about them. I have a crow experiment in my own backyard now that I will mention later.
      • Eveline
        Participant
        Chirps: 17
        WonTolla
        That is an awesome story Barbara. I too wonder what you did to invoke that negative attention! Our last dog once barked at some crows in front of our house. Afterwards, I didn't notice it at first, but my husband pointed out to me that when we walked along the front sidewalk they would start to congregate and fly from tree to tree and yell at us. I didn't initially piece together why they did this, until it dawned on me that they were following my dog. Thankfully they never attacked us the way they have attacked you. And thankfully they are able to distinguish my current dog (both golden retrievers) from the last one, and no longer chase us!
    • Lita
      Participant
      Chirps: 2
      litaa4
      Hi, everyone: I enjoy your comments about crows and ravens very much. Please keep them coming. I last wrote on 8/2/19 about finding a baby bird and a baby squirrel (on different days) in the water bowl I placed on the corner of our second-level deck. Today, my neighbor witnessed a crow bring a dead mouse to the water bowl. This bowl is a 12-inch diameter clay saucer that is often placed underneath a large clay pot, and I can see it from the third level of our townhouse.  When I glanced out the window and saw something large in the water bowl I sent my husband out to "take care of it." That's when our neighbor reported that he watched a crow pecking at it. So, is the crow a predator or just a scavenger? So far, crows have brought these three animals as well as chicken bones, plant roots, and lots of bread products. They are very enterprising and like their food well moistened!
    • harriet
      Participant
      Chirps: 3
      harriethenderson
      1 American crows have actually killed about as many songbird nestlings as white-tailed deer. 2 Near trashcans 3 Crows live in the east more
    • karhleen
      Participant
      Chirps: 3
      KARMAC74
      1 Statiscally, snakes and squirrels are the prime predators for song bird nestlings 2 I feed American crows in my backyard in southeastern NC  I will look for nests on my walks in the future 3I don’t believe there are any ravens here and I have never seen one 4/crows warn of predators. I have seen the crows in my backyard chase hawks away.
    • Ava
      Participant
      Chirps: 3
      avamarshall
      1) Crows actually are not the biggest culprit in killing baby song birds in fact it's more the squirrels and chipmunks that do the most damage. 2) I see them in my neighborhood.  I don't know if I could see their nest, but will be keeping my eyes open now.  I did watch a group of them chase an owl into a tree.  Yelling at it the whole time.  It was very interesting! 3) I've seen ravens in the Yellowstone National Park.  I didn't at the time know if it was a crow or raven.  Looking back now it was defiantly a raven.  He was huge and had those beautiful neck feathers. 4) They seem like they can let other animals know there's a predator around.  They disperse seeds and clean up road kill Lol.
      • karhleen
        Participant
        Chirps: 3
        KARMAC74
        I have seen them in the western states.  On the Madison River I watched them raise 3 Babies over the summer.  I was fishing from a boat and their nest, mostly a pile of sticks, was in an indentation on a cliff face
    • erin
      Participant
      Chirps: 2
      brightside99
      I live in Las Vegas NV and I took the class because I've always been interested in the 'crows' that spend the night in my trees sometimes or that you see feasting on all manner of stuff when you drive through the desert to California.   jThe first thing I learned is that all those guys aren't even crows they're ravens . . .   And while we have plenty of grackles all over (which I knew about) and plenty of ravens it does not appear we even have crows around.  I'm still glad I took the course because I like birds and animals even if they don't live close by.
    • Jo
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      Jo5959
      I summer on the west coast of Newfoundland and there are plenty of crows there. They gather in our yard, where I sometimes throw Cheetos, and around my small compost pile, where I put out mostly vegetable matter but sometimes fish skins. Watching them fly across the field, bright orange Cheeto cigars in their mouths is a delight. Our cottage overlooks the Gulf of St. Lawrence and the crows love to soar on the updrafts and winds along the shoreline dipping and floating and playing with each other.  They seem to wait for us to arrive every summer -we've been going there for 10 years- and may even be greeting our return. They help make the whole vacation so much more interesting and fun.
    • Rebecca
      Participant
      Chirps: 6
      raheagle
      I live in Northern New York where ravens are on the edge of their range.  I see more crows than I do ravens, and the difference in size is very noticeable.  I notice that on the few occasions where I have noticed ravens, besides the size, the wedge-shaped tail is a strong clue as well.  Crows seem to hang together in larger groups than the ravens I've observed.  And they can be the neighborhood watchers and warners of "danger in our midst."  Last spring a barred owl spent some time in our yard (much to our delight), but it was crows that badgered it loudly to ward it off and send the alarm.  They were very persistent.  Recently a bald eagle perched in a spruce, accompanied by a team of crows loudly making the call!
    • Stephanie
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      smtrenck
      I live I Sacramento CA.  The map shows an absence of ravens there.  
      • sandra
        Participant
        Chirps: 3
        kiwisandra
        I live in Nevada County in the foothills of  Sierra Nevadas ..Nothern California  .I have feed  Blue Jays and Shrub Jays for years,  peanuts .. ..Love how they mimic my calls..(another story)  then watched at close range,  10 feet away  a crow I caught eating out of the trash can.. .. we eyed  each other.. at that point I was hooked, we noth were..  ..At that point they were not common, just a few so decided to try and feed them..  I live in a HOA  so found a  tree quiet corner  that no one used and started calling them.. figuring out they were as talented  as the Jays!  Then started feeding them a little daily .. Within  a short period of time they would call me , land on my deck railing looking for a morsel..  I underwent knee surgery so was bedbound home bound for weeks and Covid  .. at that point could not distinguish individuals except for their calls ..but there was 2 that would land right in front on the only window I could see out,   a small window  where I lay.. Incredible that these 2 knew which window in my 2 storied condo ..  Eventually I healed.. then was able to go outside.. ..the main 2 ..they pair up for  life I believe would wait until I was at the kitchen window  high up in a Birch tree (they love the tallest tree) and call to me ..  sometimes 5-6 of them in one tree..  .. out I would go and feed them.. .They are very cautious because of their size.. .. I called them they would chatter and circle.. long story.. I eventually had about 60 a day in a few short weeks and a family of ravens .. .. I believe they dont rely on one food source but  scope more than several daily .Im not home all the time too but a few days return .. there they are on my deck again .. . they have their 'routes' and the crow that calls me  (and mate) is what I call a spotter  '.. This got to be a problem in the HOA ,so had to relocate to a safer place away from homes , as many people see them  as pests..  I watched about 25 of them being corraled by a red hawke one night..  They stayed  in that tree above my home for nearly an hour it was nearly dark when they flew away, which was unusuall as they bed down  early evening   .. never seen then stay quiet for  that long all huddled close  ..    The spotter and mate know my car , so will follow me occasionally down to the bank find a tree above my car and call me  when I exit the bank..it makes me laugh..   If I had guests parking in my driveway, they responded  like' who are you' .. and would warn me.. interesting as I told no one , but the guests would ask me 'whats with those birds in the tree  above your home'    I eventually told my neighbour .. she laughed.. What! ..she did not believe me ..A few days later this same neighbour drove me down to fill my car with gas ( I wasnt  driving yet )  At a  'very busy noisy  AMPM'  she gets out to fill up and there right behind my rear where two large crows ..just landed..within 2 feet from my trunk  .. It was sad when I had to relocate them..   very very sad.. they called and called.. but the HOA was not pleased ..    They eventually left after a few weeks and then I found a new quiet corner an empty large lot with  trees  down the road about a mile away .. So when Im home I visit  go down there ..call them and in they come circling the trees calling to me .. The Ravens barely move when I drive in and call them..  The spotter and mate are never far away .. interesting how they seem to eat something in the gravel drive ..is it a mineral?   And just  love to watch them 'kinda jump up quickly' when they eat.. have not figured that one out yet.. do any other birds do this? Ive watched them around small flocks of  birds ,  these wonderful creatures  stay away from the  ducking diving swooping of smaller birds . Its as if they are cautious of them because of their  large size and not so nimble.. I have about 40-50 Crows and Ravens about 15.. although dont see them all together  feeding as I did before So happy to join this groupand read your stories
    • Robin Lee
      Participant
      Chirps: 2
      robinred57
      3. I live in Laguna Beach, CA. I feed both the Crows and Ravens. I noticed the beak difference, definitely the size and the sound they make. I especially watch one big raven, guessing male...named him “big poppy”. He’s 3 times the size of any crow in the murder I feed. I noticed that the crows and ravens don’t really interact. The murder I feed is approximately 15-20 birds. There are two crows that actually mimic human sound. One clearly says “hello, hello” and we’ve had short conversations, the other makes a few different noises, not quite sure what he’s mimicking, but “hello” comes out at the end.
    • Sally
      Participant
      Chirps: 6
      Skentch
      1. I would say that a songbird nest predation study was done in 4 different forests via a video camera so it was easy to determine who was entering the nest. Over half of the predations were from squirrels (includes savage but cute chipmunks) and snakes (mostly in the south). Other predators include racoons, insects, cowbirds, jays, crows and 2 out of the 245 recorded predations were from deer. So not to worry about crows ravaging baby songbirds. Look out for the squirrels. 2. I can see a conifer tree from my bedroom that houses a crows nest. I have watched (and listened to it for years). 3. I live in the NW where we have both ravens and crows. I associate ravens with higher elevations in the mountains and don't know that I have ever seen them in Seattle. I do not know any difference in their behavior....is there any? Living in different ecosystems does not necessarily mean they  have different behaviors. And yes, I think I can tell the difference now. 4. Raptors will prey upon crows so that is OK as they need to end too. If there are any animals that hunt in association with crows (wolves, coyotes) that is a benefit to creatures in the ecosystem.
      • Eveline
        Participant
        Chirps: 17
        WonTolla
        That is so interesting (to me) that you associate ravens with higher elevations Sally. I live in the Canadian prairies (above N Dakota) so elevation is not a topic around here. Even though they do exist in my area, I mostly have always associated them with 'the North'. I am ashamed to admit that I actually didn't realise they lived in the western States until I saw the map. As far as different behaviours - my main distinction on that is that crows are gregarious and live in groups, whereas I believe ravens tend to be solitary.
    • Elizabeth
      Participant
      Chirps: 5
      hummingraven
      3. I live in the northwest of NJ. When we moved into our house, there was actually a pair of ravens that lived in our area. They have moved on... not sure where to. We could tell they were ravens by their size... if I look at one and think 'that's a BIG crow' I'll give it a second look and their calls. They were deep guttural sounds vs. the higher pitched 'caw'. There is now a family of crows here, so I'm guessing that they don't 'co-habitate' well. I haven't seen the ravens in our yard since the crows 'moved in'. I do still see ravens in and around the area, but not often. They are harder to spot. I'm kind of disappointed not to see the ravens anymore. We did name our house 'Raven's Roost'! It would be difficult to give up watching the antics of the crows though. 4. The other animals in the country-area I live in have definitely benefited. I feed the crows every day - just a little supplement, nothing major... so the other birds (including sparrows, blue jays, and even sometimes red-tailed hawks) and other animals (squirrels, chipmunks, and rabbits) get some left-overs. I only feed them in the morning so I know the food will be gone WELL before dark when we see raccoons, coyote, and bear... which I would prefer NOT get used to my feeding them. As much as I love them, I do have to take the dogs out in the dark so don't want these guys hanging out close to the house as much.
    • KATHRYN
      Participant
      Chirps: 6
      KatCrow
      I have seen firsthand the unpleasant experience of a group of Crows raiding some House Sparrow nest boxes that were put up in front of a shopping center. If someone came to me complaining about that, I would, of course, first be empathetic to why they were upset. I would go on to explain that it is nature-survival. The House Sparrows often kill and/or drive out Bluebirds from THEIR nests. Common cats, both domestic and feral also prey on crows and other birds.If a person wanted to prevent Crows from attacking nestlings in the nestboxes people provided they can do research on hole sizes and ways to keep predators out. I live in Northeast FL and see Crows pretty much everywhere all year long. Have had the pleasure of having the same group/family come to my yard for several years. It became easy to distinguish individual personalities and my favorite part was when the youngsters would show up - just to listen to them learning to talk and watching them play with sticks and pretty much anything they could get ahold of. They are very adapted to visiting restaurant dumpsters as well. Unfortunately I have only been ably to spot Ravens North of here in the Blue Ridge and Smoky Mountain areas of North GA> As for benefits to other animals, I think they serve as lookouts for prey animals, not only issuing loud warnings, but chasing off the predators. When they scatter food about during eating, I'm sure other birds/small animals eat leftovers.  
    • Lita
      Participant
      Chirps: 2
      litaa4
      I decided to sign up to this course in order to try understand crows better. We have a family of 5 crows that nest in the tall trees near us each spring. About that time I set out a large saucer of water on the deck railing for robins, cardinals, and other small birds to bathe in. They are fun to watch. But the crows don't just drink the water. They also like also like to use it to soak chunks of dry bread before scarfing it down. This makes the water very messy, and I have to change it. Also messy are the chicken bones. Ugh! Even worse, this past spring crows brought freshly killed fledglings and even - once - a baby squirrel, to rinse in the water. But now it is July, and hot. The crows have gone somewhere cooler, but the robins still appreciate a daily bath. We live in Arlington, VA.
      • Eveline
        Participant
        Chirps: 17
        WonTolla
        That's interesting Lita that the crows regularly use the water to soak their food. I have a bird bath in my back yard, and a little drainage pond in my front yard, and both are heavily used (for drinking and bathing) by all the birds, squirrels, and even cats in the area. I have seen crows very  occasionally drink from the pond, but I've never seen them bring food to it. I wonder if there is something more enticing about your saucer than my bird bath or pond. Maybe they like that your saucer is more shallow? Hmm...I will have to experiment next summer!
      • sandra
        Participant
        Chirps: 3
        kiwisandra
        Interesting ehst they do with your water...  Ive not seen them drink my water.. other  birds just not crows ..the water also is on the deck so probably a little intimidating for that wing  span.. .
    • Marcia
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      Brantgeese
      2 and 3: I live in Southern New England and have always seen plenty of Crows in the area.  Sometimes, birders will report seeing a Raven on a local email site, but I've never seen a Raven here.  I do occasionally hear a Fish Crow.  It can be tricky to single them out from the calls of begging juvenile Crows, but Fish Crows' calls seem higher-pitched.  I've never seen a nest.   I really enjoy the behaviors of Crows.  A few years ago I took a series of photos of a group of Crows feeding in my yard on Pears that were on the ground around my very productive Pear tree.  A juvenile Crow was constantly begging with both voice and body movements (mouth agape, wings partly opened and trembling)  following one particular Crow that was feeding on pears on the ground.  At one point, the juvenile Crow tipped over on the ground, wings tightly folded closed, yet still with mouth agape and begging calls!  The adult near it completely ignored it, even as it lay for severals seconds on its side, loudly begging.  Such "drama"!  Nice try!   Their behaviors continue to fascinate me and I'm eager to learn more via this course.
      • Sally
        Participant
        Chirps: 6
        Skentch
        GREAT STORY! Destined for the stage.
    • Angela
      Participant
      Chirps: 7
      Angela.Snow
      The pie chart of baby bird mortality is misleading.  “Snakes” is a suborder-level taxon and “Squirrels” is a family-level taxon, while “American crow” is a single species.  Of course the number of baby birds eaten by every possible species of snake is higher than the number eaten by a single species of bird. A more accurate comparison would be to break down the “snake,” “squirrel,” and other groupings into individual species and see where the American crow ranks on that list.  Alternatively, “American crow” and “jays” could be grouped together as “Corvidae” and compared to “snakes,” “squirrels,” and the rest.  The exact numbers aren’t provided on the chart, but “Corvidae” would probably fall between insects and small birds as a cause of nestling mortality - not the largest cause, but not trivial either.
      • Cam
        Participant
        Chirps: 4
        CamMannino
        Glad you made these points, Angela.  For me, the important idea was the huge effect of chipmunks and squirrels.  I had no idea they predated on baby birds, especially that frequently.  I generally worry most about outdoor cats and raccoons where I live in Michigan - but we have lots of both chipmunks and squirrels.  I know it's all part of the necessary order of things, but I get pretty attached to the bluebirds that nest in a box in the field next door.
    • Rosemary
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      rosemarybolza
      1 baby birds are a food source for many creatures,   It would be interesting to put up a webcam and see just who is eating the baby birds. 2 I have seen crows in Albuquerque New Mexico 3  Where I live now there are only ravens 4.  Owls sometimes use old crow nests for themselves
      • Cam
        Participant
        Chirps: 4
        CamMannino
        Rosemary, I think the pie chart was based on using a webcam.
    • Margo
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      heartsclass
      I am responding to Topic 1.  I would ask the neighbor if she had actually seen the crow killing the nestlings.  If she hadn't, I would tell her that odds were that it wasn't a crow.  Crows are opportunistic, and will eat baby birds if they come upon them, but it is much more likely that the predator was a snake, squirrel or raccoon, among other predators that eat baby bird much more often than crows.
    • Jeannette
      Participant
      Chirps: 3
      JanieHarp
      Owls can benefit by using nests that crows make.
    • Jeannette
      Participant
      Chirps: 3
      JanieHarp
      Crows give warning calls that alert other crows and also alert other birds and small animals to danger.
    • Mary
      Participant
      Chirps: 10
      James949
      After reading the responses to the question of crows eating eggs, it occurs to me that one should simply ask, "Do you eat eggs?" and smile sweetly.
      • Elizabeth
        Participant
        Chirps: 9
        throckm6
        Good answer! They would probably say, "yes, but I would never eat songbird eggs". It's hard for people to see the hypocrisy because we put so much value on different species.
    • Katie
      Participant
      Chirps: 3
      Bookista
      1. I would say that, actually, it's probably a chipmunk or squirrel killing the baby birds. 2. I live in the city so any walk I take I'm likely to see 5-10 crows on it! 3. I do live where there are both species. I have seen a raven only once that I know of, at a bird sanctuary. They are enormous! So much bigger than a crow. It is easier to tell the difference between them up close. 4. Since crows keep insect and rodent population down, humans really benefit from crows! Crows also benefit everyone by spreading seeds and berries, so any animal who relies on seeds and berries would benefit. BONUS: I love to see crows and when I get up close to them you can really see them as mini raptors.
    • charlene
      Participant
      Chirps: 3
      charlene cyr
      1.  I would tell them that snakes, squirrels and chipmunks are the bigger predator. 2.ive seen crows in all my travels in North America.  We have a nest in a old old cedar tree that they built this spring using twigs and dead grasses from our yard.  It’s about 40’ up the tree. 3.  Yes we have both species where I live and what I’ve noticed is the crows live in the residential neighbourhoods and the ravens tend to stay at the higher elevations in the mountains.  The ravens are not nearly as social although they are curious when we go off roaring in the mountains.  We have about 70 crows in the neighbourhood murder. 4.  I’m not sure how the crows benefit other birds, but I know they live in harmony with my other backyard birds and are not as intimidating as I’d have thought after studinying them for awhile.
    • Cheryl
      Participant
      Chirps: 2
      caburnett
      1) I would mention that snakes , chipmunks and squirrels actually have higher rates of predation than do crows. 2) I don’t see many crows near suburban area where I live. Most likely to see single crows spaced out along highway shoulder especially in rural ares. Never suspected crow nest, but will start to pay more attention. 3) No ravens likely in my area. Have seen crows.  Recently on vacation on Grand Manan island, off coast of New Brunswick and found groups of crows and also ravens readily found.
    • Pamela
      Participant
      Chirps: 4
      Quakeress
      1. I would tell my neighbor that our local squirrels and chipmunks are the more likely nest raiding culprits. 2. Last year there was a crow's nest in our neighbors tall pine tree. I enjoyed watching the crow couple's teenage crow assisting with the young ones. 3. Ebird reports crows and ravens in our area. I have not confirmed a sighting of a raven yet, it is one of my goals. We also have fish crows in our area - every dusk 50-60 birds or more fly from the lake/marsh area at our local county park, heading north. They occasionally land in a clump of trees, then is disagreement all take off again. They also work on flushing out all hawks in their path. 4. The crow is my bird watching companion in that he tips me off to any hawks in the area. Here in southeast PA we have nesting pairs of Cooper's hawks, Red-shouldered and Red-tailed hawks. The birds at our feeders take their cue from the crows, who act like the local sheriff in our neighborhood.
    • Meredith
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      mcallaghan
      4. Crows act as scavengers which is a very underappreciated job. I'm fortunate to drive through a 6 mile stretch of state land every day to go to work and I often see road kill.  The crows, and other species, take care of this quickly so I don't have to see it for too long or smell it as it decays.
    • Matt
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      somes41
      3. in edmonton canada. i find crows take over the city during spring, summer, and fall. the ravens are typically found in wooded areas outside of the city. in the winter the crows leave (assuming south) and the ravens take over the town. often on cold snaps of -40 i will see ravens huddled around exhaust fans of the local 7/11.
      • Eveline
        Participant
        Chirps: 17
        WonTolla
        That's interesting Matt. I live in Winnipeg - which has a very similar climate to Edmonton - and the crows do not leave here in the winter. I have only ever seen a raven inside the city once (that I know of - quite possibly I wasn't able to distinguish before this course) - and it was yesterday (in the winter). I always thought we didn't see ravens in the city because they prefer woodsy areas, but maybe it is also because the crows don't leave. I will watch the exhaust fans at the local 7-11 over the course of this winter though...maybe the ravens are congregating there after all!
    • Edith
      Participant
      Chirps: 2
      OmaEdith
      There are hundreds of crows in our town. They roost in trees downtown and poop on the sidewalks, hitting people once I  a while.  Lots has been done to try to get them to roost elsewhere, but to no avail.  The issue is especially acute in winter.
    • Cyrus
      Participant
      Chirps: 6
      RhodeC
      1.  I would tell the neighbor that the many snakes, squirrels, chipmunks, racoons and opossums in the area are the greatest threat to songbird nestlings. 2.  A murder of 6 to 8 crows permanently reside in my rural gated community that prohibits discharge of firearms.  I live above a bluff line that defines Cane Creek gorge of Fall Creek Falls State park.  A pasture with small lakes lie above my property.  On the end of my property with state park, a crow nest was built in the crotch of Black Oak some 70 feet above the ground.  Three crows with much chatter tended the nest when the fledglings took flight. 3.  I live on southern Cumberland Plateau (mid-eastern Tennessee) where the crows, vultures and raptors are common.  The raven is seen east of the Cumberland Plateau along the Appalachian range. 4.  A lookout crow sounds a warning to group of crows below that other birds and animals hear that a predator or human intruder has been spotted.
    • Jonquele
      Participant
      Chirps: 7
      jonquele
      1. I would have to point out that one of my cats is a formidable huntress. (She is dying to catch a crow, although they are larger than she is.) But the 4 ft rat snake, the squirrels and raccoons, not to mention the raptors and owls and cowbirds all have better opportunities to go after nestlings. The experienced members of the passerine flock nest in other yards. The crows do try it on though. The mockingbirds kick up an enormous racket when they or the blue jays show up... their nest is high in a hackberry tree. 2. I have never spotted a nest. The resident flock has a lot of hillside to choose from. The crows visit when I dump out feeders on the driveway or toss out stale bread, chips or fruit. They always go after the peanuts first, stuffing in as many as they can manage. The sunflower seeds must be stepped on while they are hammered. Then they have to practically lie their heads down on the pavement to extract the seeds. Usually, they come alone or with 1-3 friends. 3. There are only crows where I live. The ravens are a couple hundred miles west. 4. The crows and bluejays make a terrific fuss when there are predators around, including me. They seem to run regular patrols around the territory. I hear them calling from one side of the peninsula to the other. I am told that they don't like to share space with grackles. There are certainly no grackles, (and not many blackbirds or starlings) on the ridge and peninsula where I live, but I have seen them foraging side by side at a nearby golf course, so that may just be hearsay. Not having grackles leaves more food for everyone else. Anything that eats grasshoppers helps the local herbivores.
    • Nadine
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      Nadine713
      I live in Santa Cruz California. We have tons of crows around here. I don't remember seeing many at all 35 years ago. During the late fall, in our neighborhood, which includes a small park with some tall redwood trees, crows congregate in great numbers. There are other areas in town where this occurs also. They line up on the power lines across the street from my house. They stream overhead in great numbers to the land in the tall trees just a couple of houses from ours. They make a lot of racket and seem to be having a great time as more and more crows fly in to join the party. I have about 4 regulars whom have overcome their fear and sit on the fence waiting for me to put peanuts in the flat, hanging feeder. If the squirrels are there first, they wait until I chase them off. One or two of them know how to grab 3 to 4 peanuts at a time - a method which involves pushing the first peanut to the back of the throat. It's funny because there are 2 squirrels who will do the "3 peanut grab" also. I love the crows and think them handsome and intelligent.
      • Sue
        Participant
        Chirps: 3
        SueAlameda
        I appreciate your comment that you don't remember seeing crows 35 years ago.  I also live in California in the San Francisco Bay Area.  I moved to Alameda in 1988 and don't remember seeing crows then.  But a few years later I remember hearing a loud racket and walking out my front door to see what it was.  I looked down the street and there were at least 15 or 20 crows in a tree.  That was the first time I recall seeing them in the neighborhood.  Slowly the population has grown over the years.  Where did they come from?  How much has the overall crow population increased over the past three decades?
    • Peggy
      Participant
      Chirps: 10
      MPage815
      I live in southern Maine, where both American Crow and Common Raven occur, though ravens are far less common and less visible where they do occur. I have both species nesting in the woods near my home. I find them very easy to distinguish both by voice and appearance in flight, though I never use size as a differentiator. Ravens tend to stay where there is much more forest cover and more mature trees. The ravens nesting near me have chosen a very tall oak deeper in the woods, but their nest is quite visible. I saw one of these adults approach the nest in mid-May carrying a baby robin. The nesting crows are right near  my house in the tops of red pines, and there seem to be several helpers assisting at the nest. When distinguishing between the two species, it is also helpful to remember that ravens are almost always alone or (during breeding season) in pairs, at least in my experience. In my many years of birding, I have never seen a group of ravens except at a carcass. As to the neighbor who complains about the crows eating baby birds, I had a neighbor say that exact thing to me. I reminded her that her free-ranging cat is FAR more likely to be killing birds than a crow.
      • Jean
        Participant
        Chirps: 1
        jeannh50
        I live in mid-New Hampshire, have both Ravens and Crows. We lived above Spokane, WA seeing Ravens often in groups up in the mountains since we lived at about 3500' If your neighbor really loves her cat, it would live 5-8 years longer if she kept it indoors. My first course, liking it very much. Dan
    • Jen
      Participant
      Chirps: 6
      tweettweet
      1:  I’d let them know we should be more concerned about squirrels and chipmunks in our area. 2:  I have had a family of crows in my woods for several years now.  I do not know where their nest is...yet. 3.  In the part of New Hampshire that I live I generally only see crows. But when I hike in the White Mountains I see and hear ravens. 4:  All things are connected. In New England we have a tick problem.  Crows that feed on small rodents have the ability to break a link in the web of causation that causes disease in humans. The tick feeds on rodents, among other things, and then feeds on people, causing Lyme and other diseases. The crow is a welcome part of my neighborhood. It is also helpful for the same reason for the deer and moose populations as well as my dogs.
    • Sherry
      Participant
      Chirps: 6
      sherrybay
      1. I would mention that snakes and even squirrels are responsible for more predation. 2. We have many American Crows in our neighborhood, but I have never thought to look for a nest. 3. I live where both species are present.
    • Linda
      Participant
      Chirps: 3
      Courtney47
      #1. I would point out that snakes, and especially in my area, squirrels eat more birds. I also agree that cats are a problem, although I am not sure if they are killing baby birds or adults. #2. I have crows in my neighborhood and in my backyard. I have no knowledge of where they are nesting. There is a marsh nearby. I would appreciate any tips on how to keep them from eating the plants in my garden. I have several bird feeders and they like to eat the seeds that fall on the ground. That's okay, but now they've started eating the plants. #3. I believe I live near both species, but until I took this course, I couldn't distinguish them. Now I will pay more attention to behavior. #4. As the video said, probably owls that use the nests that crows leave behind.
    • Ron G.
      Participant
      Chirps: 4
      RonG1945
      Re. #1 - I would probably mention that outdoor cats are what we really need to worry about.
      • June
        Participant
        Chirps: 6
        pearl2
        I agree! Every cat that I own is an indoor only cat for that very reason. We have garter snakes, squirrels and chipmunks here in the northwest, thus hatchlings in our area are at high risk.
      • Clara
        Participant
        Chirps: 1
        Clara Mori
        I also agree with you, Ron. Even if I like cats, I would love for people to understand that cats should be kept indoors.
      • Sue
        Participant
        Chirps: 3
        SueAlameda
        I agree too!  Cats should be kept indoors for both the bird's safety and theirs.  I have a friend who rigged up a net along the top of the fence surrounding his back yard.  The net angled in and his cats weren't able to get a grip and pull themselves over the net.  That way they could go outside but not roam the neighborhood.
    • Mary
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      mrcrow1946
      A farmer in my area hates crows because he says they eat his corn seed when he plants.  Is this true? I love crows. I have been feeding them for 15 years. Their favorite?  Hotdogs!  Each morning I put out 3 or 4, not cooked, of course. They love them, as they do pizza, and a dead mouse or two or chipmunk that I catch in my traps. I like to experiment with different foods, they don't like chocolate chips, at least mine don't.  they love raw chicken. They actually sit next to a hawk in my walnut tree some winter mornings, waiting for me.  It's a beautiful sight!
    • Patricia
      Participant
      Chirps: 5
      PattyMac_58
      Their are both here in CO but crows are in the neighborhood and ravens are more out of town.
    • Mary
      Participant
      Chirps: 10
      James949
      I am so pleased to see that the evil (non native) fox squirrels are the more likely predator and we do have resident squirrels.  When I yell at the squirrels, the crows know they are not the ones being shooed away. There are many crows in my suburban neighborhood in San Mateo, California. This year the crows nested in the Ash in our front yard. The pair who normally come for walnuts were the "look outs" and cawed with vigor whenever we went in or out. After the nestling was big enough and had moved on to different trees, they started coming back for walnuts. Family duties come first. There is a somewhat wild area where I do volunteer restoration. The ravens play "keep away" on the updrafts with sticks or small prey. It is great fun to watch them. As to the benefits of crows; I have seen them mobbing the poor Cooper's hawks. No creature for miles around could be unaware of the hawk's presence.
    • Dale
      Participant
      Chirps: 2
      n735cm
      Why do mockingbirds follow, and seem to be harassing the crows?  I also see the crows doing the same to hawks.
      • June
        Participant
        Chirps: 6
        pearl2
        I have heard these theories: 1.Male crows are impressing females by indicating how protective they are, thus are excellent choices for mates. 2. Crows (males) are genetically programmed to go after any bird that is intruding their territory. I wonder if Dr. McGowan agrees with either of these theories?
      • Lee Ann van Leer
        Bird Academy
        LilacRoller
        Some species of birds will harass any other bird they feel is a threat to themselves, their nest, or their offspring. This harassment increases during the breeding season.
    • Desiree
      Participant
      Chirps: 16
      Weeziehupy
      I live in New Orleans, Louisiana and have been feeding and watching a family of crows and a pair of fish crows in my yard for years. Both kinds of crows seem to recognize me when I’m out walking-I don’t know how they can recognize me, but they follow behind or fly in front and caw whether I’m alone, with my dog, or with my children, and if I’m heading back for my house they wait in my Chinese elm or on the shed roof where I throw food for them. (They love unsalted peanuts in the shell, but sometimes I give them leftover roast chicken too.) One of the neighbors said they go after baby birds, but she feeds them too. I think attitudes about them have started to change, at least in the city. They are a daily source of joy for me. I especially love it when the baby crows are brought over by the adults toward the end of summer. I love how insistent they are about being fed. I am more than happy with the crows, but I do wish I lived some place where I could see ravens too.
      • June
        Participant
        Chirps: 6
        pearl2
        I would love to see ravens here, too! I live in Oregon and the ravens here are found in more remote areas such as deep in the conifer forests or near water falls. The only time I have seen ravens was when I hiked at Silver Falls a few years ago. I recognized their unmistakable "croak."
    • KTrinder
      Participant
      Chirps: 2
      TillyT
      Hi, I'm in Scotland, Britain, so we have a different crow- carrion crow, Corvus corone. We have the same species of Raven, Corvus corax. I'm lucky enough to live in an area where we have both. (We have 8 species of crow here in Britain. I regularly see all of them other than the Chough (Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax), which I've never yet seen.) Carrion crows come into our garden for food. It's taken them a number of years to trust us enough to come in, and they now actually will come and ask for food. They love dog biscuits and apples, which they will pick up and drop in a water dish before eating. I don't know what the neighbours think of this! But they all know that we feed birds and no one has complained... yet. I do try and explain, to anyone else who complains about corvids taking baby song birds, that they are not the main predator, but yes, some folk are very prejudiced against the corvids. Your 4th question, - "What birds and other animals might benefit from having crows around? Why? How?" Well, because the Crows come in and ask for food, the local magpies and jackdaws benefit as they are much less wary and will nip in and grab biscuits before the crows have plucked up the courage, so they benefit! :-) I think the other corvids see where the crows 'stash' food, so again they benefit from an additional food source. The crows are alert for predators such as cats or owls (or humans), so other birds and animals will benefit from hearing their alarms calls if they have spotted one. On the downside of that, the crows don't bother about the sparrowhawk (Accipiter nisus), so the song birds are not alerted to it's presence. At least then the sparrowhawk gets his breakfast or food for his young! :-) The crows don't like squirrels or pigeons, and will nip at them to get them to leave the garden, This leaves the seed feeder and spilt seed available for the song birds.
      • Mary
        Participant
        Chirps: 10
        James949
        I envy you your variety of crows and am entertained by the differences in the actions of your crows as opposed to my American crows. They will pretty much leave the squirrels alone even though I have seen the squirrels go out of their way, like crawling upside down on a wire, to aggravate the crow on the wire below. Our crows are aware of any and all predators and have a particular call for predators. They did learn that my cat who originally elicited the warning is not a danger and they no longer call when they see him.
      • Michele
        Participant
        Chirps: 5
        MGarlick

        @Mary I live in the San Francisco Bay Area and I have a pair of crows that frequent my yard that I feed daily.  What I have noticed with them and the squirrels... if I set up a novel feeding station, the crows are wary and the squirrels or a Steller Jay will partake of the food while the crows watch.  However, once the crows became comfortable, they would scare/chase the squirrels away -- including swooping down on them from a tree.  At least here, it seemed plausible to me they were watching and using the squirrels to assess safety.  I caught some of this on video.

      • Mary
        Participant
        Chirps: 10
        James949

        @Michele Michele,  your crows are more proactive than mine. Perhaps they see that I will do the squirrel removal for them. Not that it has any lasting effect. I hate that squirrel! I also notice that the scrub jays would swoop in to take food as the crows spent time checking out the situation. Since I was originally putting out walnut bits for small birds, I put them in the leaves of a small oak to foil the squirrel. The crows would try to "hover" to pick the walnuts out of the Oak. When I tossed out nuts for ground feeders as I ate lunch, one crow would sidle up to the food as if not looking at it would trick me into thinking that wasn't where he was headed.  My crows are not as regular during mating season but return when the nestling(s) are more able to be on their own.

      • Michele
        Participant
        Chirps: 5
        MGarlick

        @Mary So interesting Mary!  I just recently became intrigued by crows.  A few times last year I saw five or six sitting on a small retaining wall in my backyard.  So this April, I decided I would see if I could get more visits if I put some shelled and unsalted peanuts on that wall...and I have.  :-) I'm only ever visited by 2 at a time, although I hear and see many more in the neighborhood trees around here.  At dusk I often see many crows flying off overhead in the same direction -- I assume for the evening roost. And I wish I knew where that was. What I wonder about is territory...?  And why am I visited by only 2 at a time? Also not sure the 2 I see now are the same 2 I started with.  Those original two individuals I could visually distinguish (I think!) by relative size, their behavior, and one bird had a feather defect (notch missing) in the right wing. I used to call this pair Trigger (bigger bolder bird) and Bullet (smaller more cautious bird).  Named, because if I pulled Trigger enough times, Bullet would eventually follow.

      • Mary
        Participant
        Chirps: 10
        James949

        @Michele I will blame my inability to tell them apart on increasing cataracts, however there is a time during molting season around August here when I can tell them apart. It is also funny that they seem to visit in pairs. I do remember when mom and dad were here with the two young, the young ones had fluffy round heads. I think those two are my current visitors, but I have no way of verifying that. So frustrating.  Everything I report is anecdotal without tags or chips; I have to just enjoy them and share with fellow crow fans.

      • KTrinder
        Participant
        Chirps: 2
        TillyT

        @Mary Hi Mary, I do get a lot of pleasure watching their antics. They will grab at the squirrels tails with a little tug, when they think the squirrel hasn't noticed. They do this to each other too, so I do wonder if some of it is actually play. That's interesting that they have learnt to distinguish your cat as being not a threat. Clever crows! :-)

      • June
        Participant
        Chirps: 6
        pearl2
        How interesting that you have such a variety of crows in Scotland! I have a family of crows (American crow - brachyrhynchos) here in Oregon that I feed each morning in my garden, thus I enjoy studying their habits each year. Similar to your crows, the American crow seems to know when a predator is nearby, as it will vocalize alarm calls and everyone flies off.  Also, whenever a hawk (we have many varieties here in the Pacific northwest) is near, our crows mob the hawk, continuously harrassing it, all the while vocalizing alarm calls and pecking at it whilst it flees. Such brave crows! That is always quite a sight! Another difference is that our crows seem to tolerate squirrels, despite the fact that they eat the same nuts and seeds that I put out every morning.
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