Nature Bulletin No. 134 December 6, 1947
Forest Preserve District of Cook County
William N. Erickson, President
Roberts Mann, Supt. of Conservation
The bald eagle is the national bird of these United States. Benjamin
Franklin thought the wild turkey more appropriate. Actually, however,
the crow is the great American bird. Everybody knows him. If you
knew only four birds, one of them will be the crow. The wise
resourceful crow is found everywhere east of the Rockies from
northern Canada to the southern states.
He is big, black, wary, numerous and noisy. He is a thief and a robber
who steals the eggs and young of songbirds and of the farmers'
chickens. He pulls up and eats young corn. He is the scavenger that
descends upon the carcasses of animals killed on highways but never
gets killed himself. He signals and alarms the country-side when a
hunter sneaks through the woods. Some say he can count how many
go in a cornfield and subtract how many came out. He's just too smart
for us humans.
The crow is hunted, trapped, poisoned, bombed, and generally hated.
Sportsmen, farmers, and state departments concerned with fish and
game, stage elaborate crow hunts and organized destruction of the
winter roosts where crows habitually congregate -- sometimes by
thousands and tens of thousands. Yet there are more crows in this
country now than there were in 1492.
A crow will eat almost anything edible, be it plant or animal, alive or
dead. And that includes great quantities of harmful insects. Actually
he is a good citizen. Long before daylight, crows will be heard
"cawing" noisily at their roosts. At a large roost the noise will be
deafening. By sunrise, they will be streaming away in all directions
with deep steady wing beats -- in search of food. Like the cotton-tail
rabbit and the opossum, the crow has adapted himself to civilization
and has multiplied. He's a character.
A crow can be tamed and makes an interesting pet, though very
mischievous and thievish. They will steal and hide bright objects, such
as jewelry or a silver spoon. Some can be trained to talk and will speak
more plainly than a parrot.
So, let's all flap our wings and cheer: "ca-ah, ca-ah, ca-ah!"
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Update: June 2012