• Darrell
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      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: 9
      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.
    • 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: 47
        Ooh, I think suggesting that your neighbor set up a camera to observe is a GREAT idea!
      • Sallie
        Participant
        Chirps: 11
        I think that's a great idea to suggest your neighbor put up a camera to see what is getting into the nest.  Brilliant!!
    • sandra
      Participant
      Chirps: 3
      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
      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
    • S
      Participant
      Chirps: 2
      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: 4
        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
      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
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    • Diane
      Participant
      Chirps: 6
      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
      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
      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
      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
      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
        Yes, I have seen them use the birdbath to dip their food as well!
      • Laura
        Participant
        Chirps: 2
        We also have a small dog and live in Southern California near bobcats and coyotes.  I don't let him outside alone because of that, but I will definitely keep a closer eye on him when I hear the crows.  Maybe listening for the crows will also help me to get some better photos of the bobcats.  I'm often a bit too late with my camera by the time I spot one.
    • Linda
      Participant
      Chirps: 2
      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: 3
      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
      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
      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
      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
      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
      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
      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
      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
      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.
    • 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?
      • 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.
      • The spot that he describes where to find crow nests and shows images is in this topic: Crow Research Techniques
    • Teresa
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      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.