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October 09, 2010


Lately I’ve been observing the crows in the city. Although there are more pigeons, and they are all around really, from sidewalks to window ledges to rooftops, I prefer the all black carrion crows (corvus corone) which stay up in the heights of the trees, the rooftops, also coming down to the riverbanks and parks. They seem to thrive near human urban environments, but keep a safe distance from humans. These are the crows that fed on the bodies of the dead during the Great Plague as well as the battlefield dead and which were associated with death thereafter. Hunted, shot and despised.
So even today they keep to themselves.

Reading about them and watching them, I’ve come to admire these birds. They are social, living in groups, intelligent, long-lived, they mate for life and their glossy black plumage not only keeps them warm in the cold weather, but also makes them very elegant birds. They have a wide variety of calls for communication, and position their bodies to express fear, aggression or need.

In the Company of Crows and Ravens is a beautiful, informative and entertaining book on corvids. I’ve only just begun it, but I’m looking forward to learning more about corvids.

What kind of crows live near you? How do they interact with humans?


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