Every March, my
husband and I note the return of a small flock of crows to our home High Point in Grand
Blanc. They are always only three or four crows and being a curious sort I decided to take
this morning to delve into Arthur Cleveland Bent's account of the life history of this
bird to learn why. I have the former Genesee County Audubon Society's past president
and friend, Sharon Johnson, to thank for first informing me about this fine series of
publications that include detailed information on behavior, nesting habits, migration,
food choices and more on nearly every species of North American bird.
Sharon told me about A. C. Bent's books back in 1992; it took me about six years to
compile the 22 books in the series -- many of which are now out of print.
In The Dictionary
of American Bird Names, the name crow comes from an early interpretation of one of
the bird's calls, "Caw". From the name crow we have derived expressions
such as "crow's feet", or "as straight as the crow flies" (referring
the crow's habit of flying straight to its roost at night), and "nothing to crow
Crows have always been quite controversial and they were once heavily
hunted. They are now protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918 and in spite of
the previous attempts to eliminate crows they remain widespread and are considered common.
I did find reference regarding the behavior we observe in A.C. Bent's section on the
American crow. Since we do not observe any of the typical courtship behavior such as
head bobbing, aerial gyrations or chasing the group of three and four birds that we are
seeing in March are most probably males who are simply "milling about".
They are here only a few weeks and then they disappear to areas more suitable for nesting
that includes thick forests of pines.
If you would like to read the full and very interesting account about the
American crow published in A. C, Bent's Life Histories of North American Birds visit this
on behalf of the the Naturalists at J.J. Cardinal’s
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