Crows are black birds that are extremely intelligent, and while many people know them only for their loud “caw,” there is much more to these birds than that.
There are about 40 species of crow and therefore they come in many different sizes. The American crow measures roughly 17 inches, while other crows can be smaller or larger.
Interestingly, crows are found all over the world, and their genus includes not only crows but also rooks and ravens.
Crows are omnivores, which means they will eat almost anything. This includes small animals such as amphibians, reptiles, mammals, and eggs, as well as insects, grains, fruit and nuts, seeds, worms, and mollusks. The truth is that many people assume that crows eat only roadkill, but this isn’t accurate. In fact, crows have a very varied diet indeed.
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Their Habitat Makes a Difference
Crows are known to be “habitat generalists.” Simply put, this means that they have access to a very diverse diet and therefore eat a lot of different foods.
This is mostly due to the fact that they can live successfully virtually everywhere, from dense forests to urban areas and so many other places.
It also means that their diets can change depending on where they live, and they are quite good at surviving on their own. This is one of the reasons it isn’t good to feed crows.
Just like feeding cats, crows will stick around if you decide to feed them yourself!
Crows often eat food such as dead animals, which includes other birds. They tend to be scavengers but are also known to hunt for their food.
That being said, they don’t normally hunt mammals or adult birds, simply because they aren’t as agile and quick as predators such as owls or hawks.
Nevertheless, they do tend to hunt younger birds and in fact, newborn birds are usually easy prey for a crow out hunting for food.
As a general rule, crows like hunting smaller animals such as young birds and frogs.
During spring time, crows will raid nests looking for songbirds, which tend to have very specific alarm patterns that can help spot crows that are out hunting.
Other foods loved by crows include:
- Snakes, lizards, and salamanders
- Fish stolen from eagles and ospreys
- Insects and worms
- Many dead animals and roadkill
- Berries and nuts
Since crows eat both meat and vegetables, it is impossible to list everything they eat in this article.
Just know that when it comes to crows and their diets, there really isn’t much that they do not eat.
Clever Birds: Not only are crows very intelligent birds, but they’re very adaptable as well, which means they can survive and thrive in all types of environments. This is, of course, one of the many reasons their diet is such a varied one.
Are Crows Considered Pests?
While crows are considered pests by some, there are advantages to having them around as well.
For example, crows have been known to destroy many different crops, but they will eat most insects and, therefore, harmful insect populations are greatly reduced whenever there are crows around.
Still, most farmers follow strict rules to reduce their crow population, and some of the things they try include adding noise-makers that produce loud sounds on a timer and spreading inexpensive grains and seeds around their crops so that the crows eat that instead of the vegetables growing in the fields.
Is Eating Other Birds Bad for the Songbird Population?
It was mentioned earlier that crows often eat songbirds, and many people are concerned about this because they believe that this could greatly reduce the population of songbirds to dangerously low levels.
So far, however, this doesn’t seem to be the case. Besides, it’s also good to keep in mind that crows are not the only animals that eat the young and adults of other bird species.
Some of the other animals that do this include:
- even owls, rats, and cats
Indeed, much like crows that search for other birds to eat, they themselves don’t always make it to adulthood because some of the same predators will come after them for their next meal.
Crows, therefore, are both the hunter and the hunted almost everywhere they live, and they are certainly not the only animals that look for many different animals to eat on a daily basis.
Interesting Facts About Crows
People tend to be fascinated with crows, even though their impression of the bird can be either positive or negative.
For one thing, they are intelligent birds that will actually remember a human’s face and will hold a grudge in some instances.
The brain of a crow is about the same size as the brain of a chimpanzee, so this tells you a little bit about how unique and smart they are.
Below are some interesting facts about crows that most people are unaware of.
They Can Solve Puzzles That Small Children Can Solve
Studies have shown that crows can solve many puzzles and figure out how to do certain things that five- to seven-year-old children can do.
They have even been known to drop walnuts in the road where cars will run over them, then swoop down to the nuts and eat what they can get out of the broken shell.
Metatool problems are also not a problem for crows, and they can even plan ahead three behaviors into the future.
They Hold Funerals for Their Dead
Crows have been known to keep a vigil over a fallen bird, sometimes for several days.
It isn’t 100% clear why they do this, but most experts believe it is the crows’ way of figuring out what and where the predator is so they don’t come after other crows next.
Sometimes, these vigils are executed by one lone crow, while at other times an entire group of crows will do the same.
They Are Relentless in Trying to Find Food
Crows are creative and relentless when trying to find food to eat.
They can catch their own fish, steal food from other animals, and will even secretly follow their victims back to their nests to get what they want.
Impressive Fact: They have even been known to drop bread or other types of bait into the water to lure fish to the surface so they can capture and eat them.
They Know Who You Are
Crows learn human faces quickly and usually never forget them.
They have been known to “scold” researchers who have gotten too close to their nests, and in one instance, a group of crows brought some trinkets to a young girl who had been feeding them for a while.
There seems to be no end to the number of ways they show their intelligence on a regular basis.
Crows are extremely intelligent birds that have a very varied diet and will even eat other birds on occasion.
While most of the birds they eat are small like pigeons, they have been known to kill and eat an adult bird as well.
In fact, because of their appetite and the fact that they’ll eat almost anything, if there’s a way a crow can get ahold of an adult bird, they will usually do so every time.