Crows - Merely annoying, or useful!
All about crows.
Crows are corvids, belonging to the same family as do magpies, ravens, and jays. To some, these clever birds are merely an annoyance. Farmers often despise them, accusing them of destroying crops. Just the opposite is true. Corn and other grains make up only about five percent of the crows diet, the rest consisting of grubs, caterpillars, other insects, and carrion.
Crows are considered one of the most clever birds, hiding food in holes and crevices for later consumption. Crows usually mate for life and live in family groups of eight or nine. They are highly social creatures, and communicate with each other constantly. The young stay with the parents for several years, learning from older birds, and assisting with younger ones. Living in a group enables crows to hunt together, warn of immanent attacks and protect one another from predators such as owls.
Crows show their intelligence in many ways. If they see a cat or other creature with prey, one or more crows will swoop in to divert attention, while others sneak in to grab the prize. Crows do more than simply caw. They have a complex language system and can mimic many other birds and animals, often barking like a dog or screaming like a hawk. Crows use twigs and flexible materials to reach food. Tame crows have been taught to count up to three. When one crow in a group dies, the others gather in what looks like a ceremony, a display of feeling or compassion.
Unfortunately, crows seem to be moving into more populated areas, perhaps seeking the warmth of more urban locations. This has caused a desire on the part of many to obliterate them. Crows are social creatures, playful, curious, highly adaptable and great problem solvers. They act as caretakers in nature by cleaning up carrion. They consume massive numbers of insects, actually aiding in food production, and they spread seed as they forage, ensuring the spread of plant life. Crows are more than merely noisy. They are an asset to man and nature and should be respected as such.
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