Crows Over a Wheat Field by Vincent Van Gogh
Their hoarse , cawing voices woke me this morning and while it brought back memories from my childhood and the nasty encounters we had, I welcomed them back from death's door. The neighborhood used to be home to many of their families but they were hit with a deadly disease that wiped out 75 per cent of them.
I'm speaking of Corvus brachyrhynchos , or the American crow , that crafty bird that works to harass or drive off predators, a behavior known as "mobbing. " They were the bane of my existence down on the farm where we were constantly trying to dream up ways of keeping them from eating our crops and vegetables.
This is the consumate opportunist - eating almost anything from earthworms, small animals, fruit, seeds, carrion and baby chicks. Its also a country/city bird, often spending the day in the city and flying to the country to visit with kin.
The crow is sociable and highly adaptable and has been around since time began. To say that its intelligent is an understatement. Did you know that they can make and use tools? A crow in captivity was seen using a cup to carry water to a bowl of dry food, and a stick to prod insects out of a hole .
Since so many crows in Illlinois were wiped out by the West Nile Virus it is a good sign to see their return to the neighborhood. I am going to record my sightings and report them to eBird who is working to study the impact that this disease has on them.
Message to another Chicago mob : Cuniculus. Are you listening, the crows are back, you wraskily wabbits. Dejavu. Guess I'm gonna be busy this summer fighting the mob in my veggie garden.
Written by Carolyngail at Sweet Home and Garden Chicago All rights reserved