While I was out for a stroll, the
sky filled with black shrouds and
maniacal screams. The war was on.
The crows screamed and climbed higher
into the sky as they sought to bring
down the red-tailed hawk. They doved
at him in pairs of two and threes. The
red-tailed soared higher. The crows
pursued him. He soared even higher.
With one rush of speed, the hawk left
the crows behind.
About a half-hour later, I walked
by a grove of trees and heard the sharp
chatter of squirrels. The crows had
landed in a nearby tree. The squirrels
barked profusely at the crows as if to
say, "you're not welcome here." It
seemed like all the creatures were
angry with each other.
Most people don't realize how
intelligent the crow is. It is con-
sidered the smartest bird in the bird
world. A crow's intelligence can be
found in their cleverness. One crow
acts as a sentry. He observes when
danger is around or spots food. He
sounds out the familiar caw caw. If
danger is present, the caw caw
increases with fervor. If he spots
food, a pleading caw caw comes forth.
The sentry waits until the rest have
eaten before partaking of his found
bounty. They use a variety of calls to
communicate. They respond to calls of
other birds. Their vocalizations are
complex and poorly understood by
The crow is shiny black, about 18
inches in length, with a thick neck.
Crows are found in all the lower 48
states. Usually, their habitation is
in woodlands and forest but as the
world has changed, crows have adapted.
Today, they can be found on lawns,
parking lots, athletic fields, road-
sides, towns, and even garbage dumps.
They are very social and even enjoy the
presence of people. Crows are in-
quistive and mischievous.
They are omnivorous and eat a
diverse diet which may include other
birds, fruits, nuts, mollusks, earth-
worms, seeds, frogs, eggs, nestling
mice and carrion. They reach sexual
maturity at about three years old for
females and five years for males. Some
live to be 20 years old. American
crows are highly susceptible to the
West Nile Virus. They usually die
within one week of acquiring the
Crows have a large mass of brain
cells. They score high on intelligence
tests. They can pick out shapes in a
toy ball. Some engage in using tools.
Often crows use stiff leaves or stiff
stalks of grass as tools. Crows will
play a game with each other. They have
the ability to hide and store food.
They can recognize the faces of people.
They will drop nuts on the paved street
for vehicles to crush.
The next time you see a crow,
remember you are looking at the brain
bird of the bird kingdom. Henry Ward
Beecher said, "If men had wings and
wore black feathers, few of them would
be cleaver enough to be crows."
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