Info on American Crows
Crows play an important role in the ecosystem. They are omnivores and scavengers which means they act as a natural clean–up crew. They eat carrion, small rodents, insects, nuts, and food that people throw out. In 1999, West Nile Virus appeared in the United States, decimating the crow population in parts of the country. Nevertheless, the breeding population remains in the millions and conservationists have categorized the American Crow as Least Concern.
Crows are 16 to 21 inches in length and weigh between 11 and 22 ounces.
They can live 8–10 years in the wild and much longer in captivity. The oldest crow on record lived 59 years.
Crows recognize human faces and will teach their offspring which people can be trusted and which have tried to harm them in the past. Researchers at the University of Washington have to wear masks when they tag crows so the crows won’t recognize and mob them whenever they are on campus.
Crows make a range of sounds to communicate with each other. They also mimic human speech.
Crows in Virginia
American Crows (Corvus brachyrhynchos) are native to Virginia and play an important part in our ecosystem. They live in urban areas and have adapted to live with humans. Get to know these intelligent and resourceful neighbors!
Crows find a mate sometime between their second and fifth years of life. Females mature faster than males but both sexes may stay with their parents for a year or two to help raise their siblings and learn how to raise chicks successfully. A pair will begin building their nests in February or March. A female will lay between 3-9 eggs, which will hatch approximately 17 days later.
When crow chicks leave the nest around a month after they hatch, they are almost as big as their parents. But it’s still possible to spot a baby. First, they have blue eyes for the first couple of months and second the inside of their mouths turn from pink to black over the course of their first year. Their feathers are also brownish-black and don’t have the sheen of an adult crow.
In the fall you may see groups of crows. These are juveniles who are taking their first steps towards independence. They join with their contemporaries to explore. Hanging out in groups allows the juveniles to invade the territory of established pairs to seek forward. Whereas a pair of adults could chase off a single bird, a group of teenagers is another matter.
Alexandria, VA 22312
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