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Crows - Merely annoying, or useful!

Updated on November 5, 2010

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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    • billips profile image

      billips 7 years ago from Central Texas

      BkCreative - you are absolutely right - we have a lot of problems and are the creators of most of them - B

    • BkCreative profile image

      BkCreative 7 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

      What a great informative hub - thanks for such a nice lesson on nature. It is not the crows who are taking over an area - it is us who are encroaching (constantly) on their habitats - and the habitats of all other animals we are supposed to share the earth with.

      Rated up of course!

    • theherbivorehippi profile image

      theherbivorehippi 7 years ago from Holly, MI

      I love crows! They are brilliant!

    • Etherealenigma profile image

      Sandra M. Urquhart 7 years ago from Florida

      I agree. They are extremely intelligent, which is why they are fast becoming my favorite bird. I've seen one go into an open trash can and extract a ketchup packet, put it under one foot one the ground & peck it 'til the plastic popped open. It then sipped on it's reward of ketchup.

    • DiamondRN profile image

      Bob Diamond RPh 7 years ago from Charlotte, NC USA

      Crows take over and run other birds out of my yard when they come in to feed. I guess no harm is done. It just aggravates me to see them acting like bullies.