Forest Preserve District of Cook County, Illinois
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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 crops.

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