No Caws for Alarm!

This content is archived

Published on: Jan. 2, 1997

Last revision: Oct. 26, 2010

The American crow, a year-round resident of Missouri, is equally at home in the city and the country. Big, black birds with a raucous call and a nasty habit of eating nearly anything that doesn't eat them first, crows belong to the family Corvidae, which includes ravens, blue jays and magpies.

The American crow, a year-round resident of Missouri, is equally at home in the city and the country. Big, black birds with a raucous call and a nasty habit of eating nearly anything that doesn't eat them first, crows belong to the family Corvidae, which includes ravens, blue jays and magpies.

This family is a rogues gallery of winged delinquents. The American crow commonly found in Missouri - and throughout the rest of the continental United States - is from the genus Corvus.

Crows have the largest brains in relation to their size of all the birds, which accounts for their adaptability to various habitats. They are at home both in the wild and among humans.

Crows will eat anything. Their diet includes road-killed animals, grasshoppers and locusts, spiders, crustaceans, small frogs, lizards and snakes, seeds and grubs.

They also eat the eggs and even nestlings of other birds. Who hasn't seen one or two birds chasing a crow? They are usually attacking the crow after it raided their nest.

Crows are believed to mate for life. Nesting season begins around March in Missouri. A pair will build a nest, often high in a tree - hence the term "crow's nest" for the highest part of the ship - or on a telephone pole or other structure.

Crows prefer to nest alone. Although when habitat doesn't provide sufficient sites, several pair will build their nests in the same location.

A typical nest contains four or five drab olive or blue-green eggs that may be speckled or streaked. It's thought that parents share the incubation duty.

Eggs hatch in about 18 days, and the young fledge in just over a month. In the nest the young depend on their parents and older siblings for food.

Crows roost in large numbers to protect themselves from predators. Enemies include great horned owls, red-tailed hawks, raccoons and opossums. By gathering together, crows find safety in numbers.

Crows have a cooperative defense behavior known as mobbing. If one crow sees a predator, it will give an assembly call. Every crow within earshot will quickly fly to the source and attack the predator. If a crow has

Content tagged with

Shortened URL
http://mdc.mo.gov/node/7240