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@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! :-)
KTrinderParticipantHi, 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.