Animal stories: crows
Crows are believed to be the most intelligent of all birds. They are also social in nature and live in large extended family groups. Crows not only protect their own family, but they will come to help unrelated crows in need too.
Generally, they are black in colour with black beaks and legs. They can also be black with white, grey or brown colouring. They are 20-30 cm in length and have wingspan double of that. Male and female crows are hard to differentiate by their physical appearance.
Crows have a unique ability to mimic the sounds made by other animals. They can hear sound frequencies lower than those that humans can hear.
Crows are omnivorous and will eat anything that is available to them. They eat bugs, worms, mice, berries and also salt-water invertebrates. An adult crow needs about 11 ounces of food in a day. They eat wild and cultivated fruits, vegetables and farm crops also. But crows can also be beneficial to farmers as they eat harmful insects that damage crops.
Crows are usually found in mountains, woodlands, farmer’s fields and cities. Crows are found all over the world, except for New Zealand, Antarctica, and South America. Crows build their nests in bushes and trees that is at least 60 feet above the ground. Nests are built with twigs, lined with bark, grasses, roots and other materials.
In the nesting seasons, all the family members including young crows, gather nesting material and the mother-to-be crow arranges the nesting materials into a soft comfortable nest.
Female crows lay about four to six eggs that hatch in 18 days. Both male and female crows take turns incubating the eggs. All the family members help in taking care of the new-born crows. Young ones first fly when they are about one month old. But, at least one young bird will remain with its parents through the next nesting season so that it can assist in the care of new nestlings. The young crow that stays back with the parents helps to bring food and also guard the nest.
Crows that live in the wild have a lifespan of about 10 years. But it may be shortened due to the diseases or the predators.
Their dark shades
Crows are black in colour but it is for a good cause. As black is very visible during the day, crows can easily identify other crows in the distance. Black is not easily seen at night so it helps to protect them from predators.