• Desiree
      Participant
      Chirps: 16
      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
        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
      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
        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

        @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

        @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

        @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

        @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

        @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
        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.