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CROWS And RAVENS?

Crows are some of the most conspicuous and best known of all birds. They're intelligent, wary and adapt well to human activity. As with most other wildlife species, crows are considered to have "good" points and "bad" ones -- value judgements made strictly by humans. They're found in all 50 states and parts of Canada and Mexico.



A common adult crow weighs about 20 ounces; its body length is 15-18 inches and its wings span up to three feet. Both males and females are black from their beaks to the tips of their tails. Their feathers are iridescent, flashing highlights of blue, green and purple. Albinism occurs, producing pure or partial white coloration. The scientific species name brachyrhynchos means "short beak;" actually, the crow's beak is fairly large, 2-1/2 inches long and quite sturdy, but short compared to that of the closely-related raven..

 













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Flocks of crows range widely for food, up to 30 miles a day in winter. Foods include grasshoppers, caterpillars, grubs, worms, most insects, grain, fruit, the eggs and young of other birds, organic garbage -- just about anything that they can find or overpower. Crows also feed on the carcasses of winter- and road-killed animals.

Crows have extremely keen senses of sight and hearing. They are wary and usually post sentries while they feed. Sentry birds watch for danger, ready to alert the feeding birds with a sharp alarm caw. Once aloft, crows fly at 25-30 mph; with a strong tail wind, they can hit 60. These skillful fliers have a large repertoire of moves designed to throw off airborne predators.

A nest site is usually chosen away from those of other crows. Most often, nests are built in the crotch of a tree, 10-70 feet above ground, usually more than 25 feet. A typical crow's nest is a large, substantial basket, 22-26 inches across, built of twigs, sticks, bark and vines. The deep central cup is lined with moss, shredded bark, grass, deer hair, fur, feathers or similar material.

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