• Julia
      Participant
      Chirps: 3
      I live in the southeastern united states, so I'll remind folks that snakes and chipmunks are the more likely predators for baby birds. Now, encouraging folks to co-exist with snakes.. that's a different discussion :-) I live in a heavily populated area and see crows frequently dining on unsecured trash in parking lots. I've also seen crows when hiking and trail running in the forest. The range for ravens does not expand into my area, though I do travel into raven territory from time to time. I'll try and use what I've learned here to distinguish crows and ravens. Crows may help other wildlife by eating pests like insects, which could mitigate infectious disease transmission.
    • Bonnie
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      I live near the Quabbin reservoir in MA and the ravens nest near the spillway every year. In the spring the pair sit together and appear to be grooming each other looking like a contented couple.  The most noise I have heard from them is when a parent flies in to feed the young.  When I hear the gronk sound I know they are nearby even though  I might not see them.   Crows on the other are a noisy bunch and have so many different sounds  and are quick to defend their territory.
    • I live in St. Paul, Minnesota, which is in the southern half of the state. I don't see many ravens here, and it looks like the range map confirms that. I live in a suburban townhouse association and am taking this course, because I see and hear crows very regularly. They seem to be around all the time, and will often fly down onto my lawn usually in pairs or groups. They are indeed very noisy! I'm pretty sure there's a nest up high in a tree, because I've seen them there. To me, it looks similar to a squirrel's nest--is that the case?
    • Some of my officemates look out onto a rooftop where crows destroyed a pigeon's nest and ate the babies, and they were put off crows. Now I can let them know that were we live (the northeast), squirrels and chipmunks are a much greater problem, and even ants and raccoons kill more baby birds than do crows. Obviously crows will take a snack when they see one, but baby birds are exposed to many risks and crows are a smaller part of that picture. Yes, I can now identify crows vs. ravens, thanks!
    • Erin
      Participant
      Chirps: 7
      1. I would point out that although crows will snag nestlings if they can, nestlings have a lot of predators and the most likely culprit is squirrels. I bet a lot of people would not know that, I certainly didn't know that. 2. I live in southern Ontario, Canada, and I pretty much see crows everywhere. The two crows I am most familiar with that come to my feeders nest in our suburban neighbourhood, I think I even know the backyard, but I can't ever pin point the nest. I'll have to go have another look this year. It has several tall trees in it, I suspect it's in the pine tree. 3. In southern Ontario there are only crows, however, my parents live in northern Ontario where ravens rule and you see them all over the place. Granted, I don't live where you would see them together, but ravens are so much bigger than crows, every time I go up north it strikes me how amazingly big ravens are, and those crazy deep, croaking voices they have, they seem so different - but again, I never see them together :) The biggest difference I notice is exactly on their range map - the farther away from people you go, the more ravens you seem to see. There are ravens in town, but they are so noisy if you head out to the lakes and forest, there must be hundreds of them, it's very cool. 4. I think the other song birds that visit our feeders really benefit from having the crows around - they chase off the red tail and the sharp shinned hawk regularly, and the sharp shinned hawk has killed at our feeders, so I'm glad the crows are there to run them off, though I do realize the hawks need to eat too, it's pretty gnarly to witness. In spite of their bad reputation, I have never had problems with the crows at the feeders, it's the grackles that seem to cause all the difficulties, and bully and kill the other birds. No one is sad when the grackle parade leaves for the winter.
    • Laura
      Participant
      Chirps: 2
      (1) If my neighbor complained about the American Crows killing songbird nestlings, I would inform my neighbor that although the American Crows kill some songbird nestlings, the majority of the killing of songbird nestlings is done by squirrels, chipmunks, and snakes, and that crows kill far less songbird nestlings than some other birds and small to medium mammals. (2/3) I used to live near Toronto in Ontario, Canada.  There I often saw the American Crow, and I don't recall seeing the Common Raven.  I now live in Southern California and I see both the American Crow and the Common Raven most days.  I have not seen a nest for either.  One of the main differences I see is that when I see American Crows they are usually in a group.  I may notice only one at first, but once I look around I usually see several more nearby.  With the Common Ravens I usually see them in pairs, often appearing to be playing in the wind as they soar around overhead together.  I often go to Torrey Pines State Reserve, where you are almost guaranteed to see at least one pair of Common Ravens. Common_Ravens_Torrey_PinesAmerican_Crows
    • Autumn
      Participant
      Chirps: 4
      1. I would first empathize for their love of baby songbirds... then gently inform them: a Jay is more likely to kill those birds than crows.. Squirrels are the reeeaaaal culprits, there!   2. I saw many American Crows living in Florida. I am now in southcentral Alaska and... we have much, much larger crows. Tons of them, too. They like to play with my dog.. I could.. look for... nests.. of Northwestern crows.. I've seen many eyries, but I'll look closer for smaller nests... 3. Although not American crows, I can observe Northwestern crows and ravens (Valdez, AK.. fairly remote). Crows are in town/closer to the harbor, interactive/friendly, and travel in larger groups. Although there are some ravens that come into town, they are usually alone and keep their distance from people (although.. the ravens in Anchorage are bold- not friendly). As far as Valdez, there amount of ravens increase as you head out of town/into the mountains. As far as interaction goes.. I've had plenty of adorable experiences with the crows. Last winter I had baked cornbread muffins before work to share.. As I walked to work, I was stalked by this one crow. The crow kept flying just ahead of me, landing, then made eye contact. I spoke to it like, "hey man, these muffins are for ma work mates." After a while, the crow- instead of landing on fixtures ahead of me- started to swoop in just ahead of my walking path, flying away before we intersected. Eventually I gave him a muffin.. breaking it up a bit along the path.. very charming bird. During the summer, when I first brought my adopted dog home (he's a husky, might be mixed with coyote... he's from the bush...), another interesting instance occurred with a crow. While walking, this crow lands on the fence, a little over eye level to me but not even 2 feet away, and starts cawing at my dog. Didn't even look at me, just starts talking up a storm to my dog. I had never experienced this before, so naturally I try shooing the bird away, but the crow stays there.. cawing. I later learned that crows and wolves/coyotes have a strong relationship in the wild.. and that crows really like playing with dogs, in general.. In comparison, I have zero stories like this about ravens. They get uncomfortable whenever I've tried to get close (very easily done with crows), but! I've had some luck making calls back to them. If they are high up in a tree, making their cool noises and such, I'll make the noises back. Either they will fly away/ignore me OR they will keep making noises/changing them up. They always keep their distance, though. It was difficult telling the difference, as these Northwestern crows are large. They do share similar traits with American crows, like the rounded tail feathers, pointier beaks/less rounded than ravens.. It will be much more easier to differentiate them now.   4. Wolves and coyotes benefit from crows. They will alert them to predators and, in turn, the dogs will share the meat of their kill. They kill off pests, which is great for us humans. To be honest, I'm not sure who else benefits from them.. As for birds, they do like picking on the bald eagles. I've seen a bald eagle land on a large, black cottonwood in my yard.. the tree had 2 crows initially. A few moments pass, a few more crows land in the tree. When the sixth crow landed, the eagle was visibly nervous and flew off.. dipped his soar about 6 feet above our heads, breathtaking. I suppose the crows intimidating the eagle out of the neighborhood could potentially help protect other nests in the area.. The property was lined with spruce trees and houses many songbirds year round. Maybe the crows were just protecting their grounds..
    • Robert
      Participant
      Chirps: 5
      Are the white feathers on an American Crow a function of age or is it just genetics. I recently had binoculars on some of them that had gathered in my backyard checking out their white feathers and couldn't help but notice that some of the birds had been badly pooped upon. LOL. Obviously, they were roosting in the lower branches. I've been there myself, at times.
      • Diane
        Participant
        Chirps: 1
        I’m no expert but I suspect the white feathers are often growing white over areas the were once injured. I have a crow buddy that has adopted me and he has one small ares on his chest that has a spot of white feathers smaller than a dime for over a year now.
    • Olivia
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      I live in Northern Indiana, and have been feeding the crows through the winter. About two weeks ago, I noticed a red tail hawk land in a maple tree above the spot in the yard where I placed the birdseed for the crows. Five or six crows appeared and immediately chased away the red tail hawk, cawing the whole time.
    • Mary
      Participant
      Chirps: 2
      Is a blackbird part of the crow/raven family?
      • Elizabeth
        Bird Academy
        I'm not sure what species of blackbird you mean–it's a bit of a confusing term. But no, blackbirds are not in the family Corvidae with crows. Corvids include crows, ravens, magpies, jays, and some others. New World blackbirds, such as red-winged blackbirds, are in the family Icteridae. Eurasian blackbirds are in the family Turdidae, thrushes. Hope that helps!
    • Sasha
      Participant
      Chirps: 2
      1. I would explain that statistically squirrels are larger predators of songbird eggs/young than crows BY FAR. I would also mention that they keep the rodent & insect population down which is great news for the ridiculous landscaping these people invest in. 2. I have a few crows that come to feed in my yard every day. There is a small murder in a nearby field and I've seen them go back to roost. Farther away, in the city, I have seen a huge murder of over 1,000 crows come back to roost and it is the most magical thing to see. 3. I live in Michigan and there are ravens only in the Upper Peninsula which is about 6 hours away. We do make a trip up there in the summer but I've never gone birdwatching there. Now I know what to look for! 4. In my little avian paradise, the crows are the old ladies who sit in the window. They see EVERYTHING and aren't afraid to alert the other birds. We feed lots of finches and doves and when the Cooper's hawk makes an appearance they alert everyone to get out of dodge.
    • Albert
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      Number 2) Live in lower Manhattan in NYC.  Have seen some fish crows in and around Battery Park.  I only know this because a guide from the Audubon Society pointed them out.  The Battery is overrun with squirrels and it does get a good amount of migrating bird stopovers.  There is also a compost heap nearby... so lot's to scavenge and forage.  Wonder  why we don't have more crows.
      • Robert
        Participant
        Chirps: 5
        I never heard of fish crows. Is that an actual species or is it a colloquialism? What is the connection to fish? Do they feed upon them? Do they skim the Hudson looking for fish? I'd be interested in knowing more.
      • Elizabeth
        Bird Academy

        @Robert Fish crows, Corvus ossifragus, are another species of crow. You can learn more about them on the All About Birds site here.

    • Janet
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      I live in a suburban neighborhood in the greater Los Angeles area.  There is a tall verge of trees that borders this subdivision, and it has always been home for lots of crows for many years.  They are active, noisy, and raucous, and I always wonder what they are talking about.  And I wonder if they know me from putting out birdseed.   They do alert everyone if there is a hawk or other predator in the area.  I actively feed the birds in my backyard and have tried putting out peanuts for the crows, but they never come in my yard.  The squirrels get the peanuts.  I see in the comments that many people are successful in feeding crows in their yards.   The only exception was many years ago in the spring for a few years only the crows would come in my yard, tear out the newly planted flowers from their pots and get a beak full of dirt for their nest.   I was mystified as to who was doing this until I watched one doing it.  They are very clever. They often perch on the telephone pole and the lines across the backyard, I guess as sentries, usually one at a time but sometimes a whole group.  Several years ago I was able to call my city to rescue a crow who had a foot caught up in a guy wire on the telephone pole.  I always wonder if that crow would recognize me.  I am surprised that most of my neighbors simply tune out the crows cawing.  When they are making a big fuss, I look around to see what's up and often it is something quite interesting.  At twilight they really fuss a lot and fly around as they roost and settle in for the night.  I wonder if they are telling each other about their day?
      • Robert
        Participant
        Chirps: 5
        Janet, If you're routinely putting seed out for the songbirds in your yard, the crows, for sure, are noticing. A couple or three years ago, I saw on PBS Nature a story about American Crows and facial recognition. I believe the study was done in Seattle or Portland. The study determined that crows over time can recognize whether a person is friend or foe, and can supposedly remember a person's face for up to two years. They can even recognize your gait. I walked out onto my carport this morning and a crow in a distant deciduous tree immediately started cawing. It probably thought I was getting ready to put more bird food out, but unfortunately for him or her, it's been raining all day. Enjoy the course!
    • Robert
      Participant
      Chirps: 5
      Crows Eating during a Winter Storm I live in Allentown PA and we've had 43" of snow during the past four weeks. It's been a harsh Winter. The attached picture was taken from my kitchen window, which is about 20' from the feeder. I now have a much greater appreciation of American Crows having taken this fine course. I know how to properly identify these birds and look for the gentle curve of their tail feathers while in flight. For a fairly large bird, I'm quite surprised how skittish they are, very much like Cardinals in that regard. I can barely get to within three feet of my kitchen window before they sense my presence and scatter in all directions. Even turning my kitchen sink faucet on will, at times, spook them. The other day, I saw one Crow with two peanuts in its mouth. I also saw six Crows patiently waiting for a squirrel to finish eating beneath my feeder. They had the squirrel completely encircled at a distance of about three feet and must have waited nearly five minutes before the squirrel raced away and scampered up an evergreen. I was surprised that they didn't rout the squirrel. I enjoy listening to the Crows talking to each other while perched atop trees that are a full city block apart. Often, their caws literally volley back and forth. A couple of years ago, I saw a badly injured squirrel that had been hit by a car laying on the shoulder of a busy road in town. The squirrel was still alive, albeit barely, but that didn't stop a Crow from pecking away at it, delighted at the prospect of eating a very fresh meal. That sight still haunts me. Nature can be cruel.
      • Robert
        Participant
        Chirps: 5
        I think I created my own Frankenstein Monster! I just estimated between 40 and 45 American Crows in my very modest backyard this afternoon. Of course, I've been spreading birdfeed and peanuts around on the ground because of the harsh winter, as evidenced in the picture that I previously submitted. I expected them to come, albeit in not such great numbers. The timing couldn't be more perfect, because it coincided with my choosing to take this course and, believe me, I have no regrets about doing so. I learned a lot about these birds because of it and have come to greatly appreciate them. Nevertheless, I hope the neighbors don't run me out of the neighborhood on a rail! I'm counting on the Crows' departure about the end of March, based upon what I learned.
    • Number 3) I live in eastern Massachusetts, where American Crows are much more frequently seen than the Common Raven. However, the Common Raven is seen in certain areas occasionally. One such place where I've seen both the American Crow and Common Raven is Great Meadows National Wildlife Refuge in Concord MA. Most recently, I observed a group of crows and a raven interact. It was clear to me that crows and ravens must not get along well at all based on that interaction. The raven (whom I identified by relative size to crows, tail profile, and flight behavior of more gliding than consistent flapping) was being mobbed by the crows, and at one point a crow from above dived at the raven but the raven went up-side down with talons outward and the crow diverted. It all happened very quickly but was amazing. That I could see the Raven's feet from the distance I was viewing from really gave me a good idea of how large the Common Raven really is (not that crows are small birds generally either). Regularly in this location for the past winter, I've also seen a group of about 5-10 crows mobbing a Red-Tailed Hawk that frequents the area, along with a few Bald Eagles. The instance in which I saw the crows mob the adult Bald Eagle was quite a sight as well.
    • Jane
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      I live on six acres in a wooded area near Beaufort, SC.   About 7 years ago a group of 4 crows showed up in the yard.   After about a week of watching, I started feeding them peanuts that I placed on a post in the yard.  A couple weeks later I found a nice white stone on the post.  I asked my husband if he put the stone there, he did not.   A few days later a burned piece of wood from across the road from a prescribed burned area,  was on the post.   I got so excited I started taking pictures of the presents that would show up.   This lasted for some time, but now there are no more presents on the post.   However,  the crows are now 6 in number and still arrive in the morning for a handout and a “ loud discussion” about their day.   They will sit close by on a pine limb and wait for me to put out the peanuts.  It is a ritual we both look forward to.  The crows are some of my favorite neighbors. Noel
    • Amy
      Participant
      Chirps: 7
       3) I live near the NH sea coast. I have seen both crows and ravens, and I love seeing them both! I have always thought t was amazing how intelligent the crows are. I have noticed that the ravens tend to be more aggressive than the crows, often displacing other birds in my yard when they visit. The crows will often sit in the pine trees in my backyard until the ground under our bird feeders until it is clear- then they will go grab their food! That you for that amazing video- I've learned so much already!
    • Suzanne
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      Hi Thanks for the interesting talk. If my neighbour complained about crows predation of song birds, I tell them about snakes and squirrels. I was curious as to why cats didn't show up on the chart. I've heard they eat hundreds of millions of song birds a year in Canada. I live half the year on Vancouver Island and half the year in Algonquin Highlands, Ontario - think lakes, balsam, white pine, silver birch forest. We have both in both places. The big difference I have noticed is that ravens tend to be solitary whereas crows flock. Also, their vocalizations are so different. In Ontario, we have lots of blue jays which dominate the feeders and intimidate the other birds except the hairy woodpecker.
    • Toni
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      About six years ago, during a hard winter, 4 crows showed up at one of my feeding stations; two adults and two juveniles.  They made it noisily clear that they needed some food and so I fed them!  So for the last six years I have fed anywhere from 4 - 50 crows an early morning snack.  And then they go away until the next day.  Yes, they are noisy but a tree full of crows is a lovely sight!  As yet, however, I have not received any gifts in return!  Still waiting!
    • Joseph
      Participant
      Chirps: 2
      1. I was shocked to learn that squirrels and chipmunks are way more of a threat to eggs and baby birds than crows.
    • alice
      Participant
      Chirps: 14
      1.  I never heard that crows eat baby birds - now i do.  So in the future i will be sure to share my knowledge that crows are not the most likely critter who is eating baby birds in our neighborhood. 2. Crows have made a sudden appearance to my Propery home on a lake in NW New Jersey this past summer.  They are very loud and they do get up wayyy to early- however, they are great at letting me know when there is trouble in the bird world with regard to other predatory animals...  I have no idea where these crows roost - but it must be close by as they are at my property as a place to hang out or pass through several times a day in summer. 3. Unlikely i would see a raven - but the “pointers” you shred will help me identify them in the future.  I will take note in their behavior if I should see one going forward. 4.  I do know that the crows that visit my home are great at letting the other song birds and ducks know that there is danger in the area.   That is certain.  They are watch dogs - I have witnessed that myself often - and i have seen them what i believe would be defending the area from some raptors in my area.  I suppose their voracious and varied eating habits are helpful to some.
    • Cindy
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      1.  I live in a subdivision in eastern North Carolina.  For a long time, it seemed like we never saw crows around.  When a murder showed up in our neighborhood, the neighbors started complaining about them.  I didn't know there were so many things that ate baby birds... but I certainly know now where crows fall in that category.  I would think that in our neighborhood the squirrels and the hawks definitely have a feast.  I feel comfortable explaining to the neighbors that the baby birds have other things to fear besides the crows.  2)  I have read a lot about crows and I have started feeding them in my backyard.  My neighbors don't like this because they think they are noisy.  I have tried to educate them about how smart they are.  They come daily and squawk for me to feed them.  I really enjoy them and look forward to their visits.  I like to see them fight off the squirrels and I enjoy the airshows they participate in when they are aggravating the hawks. 3)  I do not live in an area with ravens but I have seen them in the west on some hiking trips I have taken.  They are impressive! 4)  I have an environmental science background so I understand how important it is to have things around that eat lots of things.  There are some animals that I don't love having around, like most folks.... like snakes, vultures and mice, but they all have their purpose and have their place in the food chain.  Just recently I heard the crows in my yard making the biggest racket I had ever heard them make.  They were so noisy they got several dogs barking too.  When I looked outside there was a very large fox in our backyard.  They were definitely on neighborhood watch. One of my neighbors heard them and brought her dog in off the deck, which was a good thing.
    • Lisa
      Participant
      Chirps: 2
      1)Your neighbor is complaining about the American Crows killing all the songbird nestlings.  What would you say to him/her? I learned from my course on Crows that snakes are the greatest predators to songbird nestlings, followed by squirrels their cousins, for example, chipmunks. Although crows would love to eat songbird nestlings if given the chance, in reality they account for a tiny fraction of predations, next to the last in ranking (last being deer!). 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. I live in Dallas, Texas and have seen crows in my own backyard where I have four birdfeeders. They look for food on the ground, and don't visit the birdfeeders. However, other birds seem to fly off when crows arrive. I'm glad you mentioned grackles - those birds are in HUGE flocks around here. They can be seen roosting on electrical lines at dusk, in some places sothick they're on every line and perch in an intersection. I also have land southwest of Ft. Worth. We have many crows that fly by our cabin in morning and dusk, cawing like mad! I have never tried to find their nests, but that would be interesting. I did not like crows until I read the book, Covid, and now I am a fan! 3)You’ve seen the range map for the American Crow.  Here is the range map for Common Ravens. Do you live where there are both species?  If so, can you now distinguish between them? What differences have you noticed in their behavior? We do not have ravens where I live in Texas, but I now I see the differences. 4)What birds and other animals might benefit from having crows around? Why? How? Since crows will alert to predators like hawks, all birds can benefit from their presence. In the city, perhaps small outside animals would also be alerted, such as squirrels.  I have red tailed hawks that try to pick off birds that are feeding in my backyard. Although I haven't seen a crow at the same time as a hawk, I have seen blue jays go crazy when the hawk arrives. They make a real racket!
    • Earl
      Participant
      Chirps: 2
      Question 2.  I am located in Charleston, SC and have only seen the American Crow here.  I started feeding a murder of crows nearby our church, and now they come flocking to my car every time I come to church!  Once, a crow followed me from a coffee shop where I had purchased a coffee and met me at my church in the parking lot looking for food.  He/she must have been familiar enough with my truck and my voice to know that I was the person who fed them!
    • Maureen
      Participant
      Chirps: 6
      Question 3: I live northwest of the northwest tip of Lake Ontario in Halton Region, Ontario, about 20 km from the lake. In the past 3-4 years, we have both seen and heard ravens as well as crows in our area, winter and summer. Love that loud echoing croak they make! They now seem to be nesting a little further south than your range map indicates. There have been reports of others seeing them as well. The crows don't seem to appreciate having the ravens around as they mob them a bit. They are easy to tell apart by size when seen together but I can now use tail and wing shape to ID them when they fly over without the crow mob. Question 4: Last year we had a Cooper's hawk nest near our house. Crows would have harassed it and likely prevented the Robin nest predation. That hawk ate every chick. I don't begrudge it though. We have many many robins. I worried a bit more about the Indigo buntings I saw being chased by that hawk but I was VERY impressed with their dodging flight through thick branches until the hawk got tired and gave up!