Einstein Corvidae – Crows & Ravens

 

 

Smart birds—crows, and ravens are part of the Corvid family. This group of perching birds includes blue jays, magpies, and nutcrackers.

In Old Norse and English cultures, a dark-haired person who steals is referred to as a ‘raven.’ Native Americans associated the raven with prophecy and an omen of loss.

Smart Bird Intelligence

Corvid Commonalities

As adaptable as the raccoon and coyote, corvids live in a variety of environments – wherever there’s a ready food source – and take full advantage of abundant opportunities that humans offer.

  • Omnivores – corvids will eat just about anything; insects, snails, worms, frogs, snakes, garbage, carrion, seeds, grain, berries and other fruit, fish, small turtles, crayfish, mice, and baby birds from other species.
  • They quickly learn how to access food sources whether it’s by opening trash cans or dropping nuts from distance.

  • Corvids are social animals, mating for life and living in extended family groups.
  • Males and females build nests together. Between 3 – 9 eggs are laid and chicks hatch after about two weeks. Older siblings help care for the young.
  • Family units provide education, protection, comfort, socialization, and companionship.

Photo Credit: noisytoy.net

  • Thought to be one of the most intelligent birds, experts say their reasoning abilities are about the same as a seven-year-old child.
  • Crows remember events for ten years plus, teaching new generations what they learned.

  • Crows and ravens work in groups to problem solve.
  • Corvids have developed, sophisticated language skills – differing group and family dialects.
  • Mobbing is when they work together to drive off predators.
  • Corvids enjoy playing and require lots of mental stimulation.
  • They notice when a member of their group has died, holding ‘funerals.’

 

What are the differences between crows and ravens?

Crows:

 

.7 – 1.5 lbs
Crows make caw-caw calls.
Fan-shaped tails.
Spend winter nights in communal roots, sometimes numbering in the thousands.
Vocalize while flying.

 

Ravens:

Photo Credit: Diliff

1.5 – 4.5 lbs
Ravens make growl-like calls.
Diamond-shaped tail.
Hides food in stashes and uses distraction to draw attention away from them.
Large throat hackle feathers.
Mostly hunts for food in pairs.
Soars without making calls.

 

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click on image to see more Life on the Creek art

click on image to see more Life on the Creek art

Resources:

Audubon – American Crow

Audubon – Common Raven

Audobon – How to Tell the Difference between Crows

Audobon – How to Tell a Raven from a Crow

Cornell Lab of Ornithology – American Crow Life History

Cornell Lab of Ornithology – Common Raven

Cornell Cooperative Extension  – Crows – Wildlife Damage Management Fact Sheet (PDF)

John Marzluff – Professor of Environmental & Forest Sciences, College of the Environment, University of Washington

Humans & Corvids:

Trash Collecting Crows

Chuck and I – friendship

Canuck and I  – Facebook page (Seattle)

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