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Facts About Crows

Facts About Crows

Virtually every day, our resident Crows would literally come to the back door and beg for food if we didn't put enough out. They would eye you up let you get within 1 m of them, and they understood our voices. I could literally put food out and whistle them, and before I could get back to the door they would drop around me looking for food. Yet recently we lost not just our resident Crows we have had for years but also their three young. So what happened and why.

This lead to some research with the following observations

Crows collectively covers 8 UK species, including:

Carrion Crow Scientific name: Corvus corone (Wilipedia)


Hooded Crow






Generally Crows adapt well to 21st century living, especially in our towns and cities where they in our case became very tame and trusting. We noted the slightly curved beak with hairs over their nostrils and huge powerful scaly feet which they would often hold food down with or use to grip on the birdbath when dunking food. We have seen populations disappear in the past, and I believe some in some species are migratory or nomadic. While others in the same species remain permanent residents in an area.

Although we see other members of the crow family in the area including Jays nesting in next door's chimneys, we will concentrate on our experience with the Carrion Crow

We understand the black carrion crow is one of the cleverest and most adaptable of all the UK birds. This has been demonstrated by watching them overturn objects such as the Hedgehog water bowl looking of insects as they are primary insect, worm, fruit and seed-eaters they would eat almost anything we put out for them.

They are very caring birds, our residents would go everywhere together, sit in trees together and preen one another for hours. They were also very protective and would stalk both cats and foxes entering their territory, which they always defended with unique high-pitched screeching, each using a particular tone to define their area.

Some years ago our pair were cautious at coming for food, now they simply demand it, coming to the patio window and dipping their heads while blinking at you.

Surveys suggest a population in the UK of around 1,000,00. Some farmers complain about they are attacking sheep and lambs, others have observed a more balanced relationship with the crows searching the sheep's fleece for bugs etc.


Why Did Many Crows Congregate in a Single Tree in March 2022?

Why Crows suddenly change habit can be for a number of reasons:

Territorial Problems

Partner Problems

Issues with Predators

Mass Groupings of Crows

Again, this can be for a number of explainable reasons

They will group together in a particular tree for safety in numbers. As crows cannot see in the dark, then safety in numbers may be the best option

They might be grieving the lost of a fellow crow

They are sensing danger from other predators such as larger birds

They simply need to keep warm

However, none of these seem to fit our situation. The weather in mid-March was warm, the days are getting longer, so why meet up at a specific time then disappear. In our case they would meet up between 6 and 8am then disappear. During that time we may find as many as 40 or more in a neighbour's Poplar tree on the very upmost branch tips. It was as though they were having a re-partnering, yet I understood they partnered for life. They would fly short distances around the tree in pairs, never more than two and never far from the tree. Yet come 8am and almost all together they would fly away. So what are the possible answers

Migration we know for some reasons large numbers will fly hundreds of miles as part of a migration. Could this be a saying goodbye?

Could it be redefining of territories? For days before, you could hear and see the males defending their territories.

Perhaps it was a combination of the two, however the following day we witnessed other large male crows attacking viscously our local male to the extent he came to the back door, standing there injured and refusing to eat. He then simply disappeared yet was almost unable to fly. He was last seen midafternoon, minutes later gone, so unlikely to be a fox, although it may have been a local small cat that has already had so many of our birds. That unfortunately is life, but we are still no nearer working out why the crows congregated for several days, and now we fail to see a single crow. In the distance, we do hear a male defending his territory, but a long way away. Maybe we have a new leader for our area and my old male crow was simply too old to defend his area and wife. Very similar to old stags at rutting time.


Much more to come later! Please come back to see full article




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