Forest Preserve District of Cook County, Illinois
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The Crow
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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