Monday, November 26, 2012

Wild Life Quiz - American Crow

The following blog post is copied from my regular monthly column titled "Wildlife Quiz" in The Maine Sportsman. This excerpt is from the December 2012 edition. Enjoy!
The American crow, Corvus brachyrhynchos, of the family Corvidae exists as a common and widespread species throughout Maine, as well as almost all of North America. Animal behaviorists consider crows to be among the world's most intelligent animals, with some species capable of tool use and construction. American crows measure approximately 20 inches in length, have a wingspan around 36 inches and weigh between 12 to 22 ounces.

American crows are easy to identify, having brilliant iridescent black feathers, black legs, feet and bill. From a distance, the American crow can sometimes be mistaken for the common raven. A discriminating eye looks for the raven’s larger size, heavier bill, feather tufts at the neck and wedge-shaped tail feathers in flight.

The American crow’s diet includes small mammals, other birds, insects, fruits, earthworms, seeds, frogs, eggs, and carrion. The most usual sound made by the American crow is a loud caw-caw-caw, but this crafty and wise avian can also produce a wide variety of sounds, sometimes mimicking noises made by other animals.  
1. How long do crows live?
2. Do male and female crows mate for life?
3. What is a group of crows called?
4. How many broods of young can a crow family produce in one year?
5. Can crows be hunted in Maine?
6. Do crows collect shiny objects?
7. When is the crow breeding season?
8. What does a crow nest look like?
9. What color are crow eggs?

1. Females live average 3 years, males 5 years. The oldest known American Crow was almost 30 years old! 2. In general, unless a mate is killed, crows stay with the same mate year after year.
3. The literary term for a group of crows is a "murder”, the scientific name is a “flock”.
4. American crows generally have one brood a year with an average clutch size of 4.
5. Crow hunting is open in WMDs 1-6 February 6-April 15 and August 1-September 22, 2012. WMDs 7-29 January 21-March 31 and August 1-Spetember 22, 2012.
6. American crows do not collect anything but food.
7. Breeding occurs between March and August.
8. Nests are constructed of sticks and lined with grass and moss. The nest is about 12 inches in diameter and in trees 20 to 50 feet off the ground.
9. Crow eggs are greenish blue with dark marks.

1 comment:

  1. Interesting! I never would have guessed that crows are considered to be among the world's most intelligent animals! I guess that's why they always manage to fly away at the last minute before becoming road kill. And tool use?! If you catch any tool action on those game cameras of yours, please post! =)


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