The closest stop sign is over a mile away and the first traffic light is 5+ miles down the road. A visit to the grocery store is almost 30 miles round trip. It's quiet here; just the sound of toads and coyotes at night. It seems very still, but when you look close there's always something happening. Read on about a few things we've noticed over the past few years.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

American Crow

Crows are considered to be among the world's most intelligent animals. Recent research has found some crow species are capable not only of tool use but of tool construction as well.   These tools include 'knives' cut from stiff leaves and stiff stalks of grass.  Another skill involves dropping tough nuts into a street and waiting for a car to crush them open.  Crows in Israel have learned to use bread crumbs for bait-fishing!  

The American Crow has been affected by the west-nile disease, upon catching it they will die within 3 weeks. Though humans cannot generally tell individual crows apart, crows have been shown to have the ability to visually recognize individual humans, and to transmit information about "bad" humans by squawking.

American Crows are monogamous cooperative breeding birds. Mated pairs form large families of up to 15 individuals from several breeding seasons that remain together for many years. Offspring from a previous nesting season will usually remain with the family to assist in rearing new nestlings.   Crows engage in mid-air jousting, or air-"chicken" to establish their pecking order. American Crows do not reach breeding age for at least two years.  Most do not leave the nest to breed for four to five years.

The nesting season starts early, with some birds incubating eggs by early April. American Crows build bulky stick nests, nearly always in trees but sometimes also in large bushes and, very rarely, on the ground. Three to six eggs are laid and incubated for 18 days.

While I'm not a huge fan of the crow due to the noise they make and the harrassment they give the Red Tail Hawks (their natural enemy) I do respect their intelligence. 

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