Nature Bulletin No. 11 April 21, 1945
Forest Preserve District of Cook County
Clayton F. Smith, President
Roberts Mann, Superintendent of Conservation
On February 17, a forest preserve ranger and his son saw a snow white
crow among a flock of black ones in the Elk Grove preserve, From time
to time, for two or three years, people have been seeing this albino bird
in that neighborhood. They say it seems tamer than the others and
spends a good deal of time alone.
During the past winter several flocks of crows had their "roosts" in
various forest preserves. In March these flocks broke up into pairs
which have built nests and are laying eggs. There will be from 3 to 5
eggs in each nest, rarely more. The incubation period for the eggs is 17
or 18 days. The young spend about 3 weeks in the nest. Oray one brood
is raised per year.
The crow has a bad reputation, but biologists who have spent their lives
studying its habits say that his good points outweigh his bad points.
Roughly 70% of his diet is vegetable matter, including waste grain.
Approximately 20%, consists of insects -- particularly grubs and
grasshoppers. The crow also helps the farmer by eating many field
mice. He serves as a scavenger by eating the carcasses of dead animals,
such as the rabbits, skunks and opossums killed on the highways.
The crow is bold but wary, and very smart. He has a reputation as a
thief and a rascal. But no proof can be shown that he is a serious
menace to song birds, upland game birds, waterfowl or agricultural
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Update: June 2012