Richard's Bird Blog » Crows Photos Essays on Birds & Bird Flight Sat, 02 Aug 2014 21:06:54 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Ravens and Crows Wed, 28 Apr 2010 16:47:45 +0000 Continue reading ]]>

Which are Crows and which are Ravens; that is the question.

crows have square tails First of all, Ravens are larger with thicker bills than Crows. Secondly, Ravens have fanned tails and long sharply pointed wings; Crow’s tails are blunt, their wings shorter and rounder; the difference is noticeable when in flight. Ravens love to soar for long periods, Crows do not.

Like Mocking Birds, crows will mimic the sounds they hear. If you hear a strange-sounding dog barking up in tree, it will be a Crow, not a Raven or a Mocking Bird.

American Crow, typical caws

Juvenile Crow caws

Common Raven, various calls

Raven, immature, frenzied calls

The pair of Senior Citizen Ravens sat on the bench below for several minutes while one of them (don’t know if it was Ma or Pa) ranted on and on – and on, about its troubled life. Bored, the other paid no attention what so ever. The ranter, meanwhile, paid no attention as to whether its mate was listening. (Does that sound like any human couple you know?)

Ravens complaining about life

A flock of Crows is called a “Murder of Crows.”  I don’t know the term’s origin but a flock of crows can be murderous. I know of three female White-tailed Kites here in Marin who were mobbed and killed by Crows in the last two years. The Kites vigorously defend themselves but they are outmatched; an adult Crow weighs 16 ounces, Kites 12.

crow harasses kiteStill, it is not entirely one-sided. Once I watched a female White-tailed Kite taunt a flock of Crows who were sitting on the ground, by repeatedly diving at a patch of ground the Crows claimed as their own territory.

I thought it was strange because the patch was gravel covered by short grass, not at all where a Kite would expect to find a vole, or field mouse.

Shortly the Crows were swirling and screaming around the nimble Kite, who slowly drew them far away from their spot. Once out of sight, the female’s partner arrived and proceeded to hunt in the Crows territory, unmolested by the outwitted Crows.

crow flips into verticle flightCrows and Ravens are both great fliers, nimble and quick no matter what the wind.

Ravens seem to love turbulent winds, they clearly enjoy the flips and twists the roiling winds throw them into, screaming loudly as they correct and climb again for another thrill ride.

Much like children and adults screaming on a roller coaster.

Crows love to come together in groups to socialize, often to the consternation of humans. In Auburn, New York  25,000 to 50,000 American Crows  have taken to roosting in the small city’s large trees during winter since around 1993, much to the dismay of the human residents who can hardly hear above the racket.

squawking crowA Crow giving voice to his (or her) opinions.

Your comments & questions much appreciated

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