It is hard to realize just how large crows are until you are within a few feet of them. They are far larger than chickens and much more intelligent. I love hearing them, though theirs is not a musical calling. Documentaries proving their amazing intelligence impress me. I realized long ago that I had never seen a dead crow on the road. They are smart to fly away from the traffic. It warmed my heart to read a scientific article explaining their family groups and their social lives - that the young adults stay with their parents to help raise the youngsters for a year or two.
I was in a MacDonald's parking lot enjoying my senior coffee (75 cents, thank you so much) when a small flock of crows landed in the parking space next to me. I scrounged to find some treat for them. I carry a baggie of dog food for instant reward for good puppy behavior but there were only a few pieces left. I scattered the kibble out the window and, though they were all quick to try for a piece, there was no squabbling or fighting. I wished I had more so they each could have had some.
One of the crows had a broken leg permanently turned all the way inward. The crow seemed comfortable and capable despite this awful handicap. Another was missing most of its beak. How in the world did that happen, I wondered. I was shocked to see the rough condition of the little flock. I suppose city crows run afoul of humans and their unnatural technology all the time. Maybe, because they live in extended familial groups, injured members can survive at a higher rate than other birds who do not live in such groups.
There are many crows in Manhattan, Kansas. I see them everywhere diligently searching for food. How can birds their size possibly find enough to eat in the winter months? It is a mystery to me.
The wild crows that visit my property never come into the yard, even though it is several acres. They fly over my house and they visit along the creek. I hear them above the pasture, but they are never close enough for me to see if they have damaged members in their flock. I would love to feed them but I think they are better off making their own living far away from human beings.
|Photo: Paul Powers/Great Backyard Bird Count|