AESOP – AMERICAN CROW
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Hatch Year: 2011
Arrival to WBS: 2011
Reason for Residence: imprinted on humans
Aesop was brought to our Rehabilitation Hospital as a young bird, after being found alone in a yard and observed following people around begging for food. When a mail carrier realized he could pick her up with no fuss, he realized something wasn’t quite right. It was determined that Aesop was imprinted, possibly due to someone attempting to raise her as a pet or being repeatedly fed as a chick by humans. Either way, she didn’t have the basic skills needed to survive and was given a home here. Aesop is an incredibly intelligent bird who loves food puzzles, learning new behaviors, and interacting with both staff and guests alike. She is well known for her ability to collect donations from guests and hand back magnets, as well as her ability to collect cans and bottles and bring them back to place them in a recycling bin. She loves mealworms, has a small black berry addiction, and enjoys playing with her “jingle ball” toy which Naturalists find cached in all corners of her exhibit as she moves it around. Aesop is also one of our resident artists! Her unique paintings are occasionally on sale at our online shop!
SPECIES: AMERICAN CROW
CONSERVATION STATUS: LEAST CONCERN
American Crows are numerous with an estimated global breeding population at 27 million. American Crow sis extremely susceptible to West Nile virus, which was introduced into North America in 1999. Virtually all crows that contract West Nile die within one week, and few seem able to survive. No other North American bird has died at the same rate from the disease, and the loss of crows in some areas has been severe.
Scientific Name: Corvus brachyrhynchos
Description: large, distinctive bird with iridescent black feathers all over. All black, even the legs and bill. When crows molt, the old feathers can appear brownish or scaly compared to the glossy new feathers. Their flight style is unique, a patient, methodical flapping that is rarely broken up with glides.
Age: 7-8 years
Weight: 11.2-21.9 oz
Habitat: fields, open woodlands, and forests. They thrive around people, and you’ll often find them in agricultural fields, lawns, parking lots, athletic fields, roadsides, towns, and city garbage dumps.
Range: North America. Now extends from the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic Ocean in Canada, on the French islands of Saint-Pierre and Miquelon, south through the United States, and into northern Mexico. Crows that breed in Canada winter in the United States, and no crows regularly winter in Mexico.
Behavior: American Crows are very social, sometimes forming flocks in the thousands. Socially monogamous cooperative breeding birds. Mated pairs form large families of up to 15 individuals from several breeding seasons that remain together for many years. Offspring from a previous nesting season will usually remain with the family to assist in rearing new nestlings. American crows do not reach breeding age for at least two years. Most do not leave the nest to breed for four to five years.
Diet: The American crow is omnivorous. It will feed on invertebrates of all types, carrion, scraps of human food, seeds, eggs and nestlings, stranded fish on the shore and various grains. American crows are active hunters and will prey on mice, frogs, and other small animals. They are also In winter and autumn, the diet of American crows is more dependent on nuts and acorns. The American crow is one of only a few species of bird that has been observed modifying and using tools to obtain food.
Vocalization: Crows have more than 20 calls. The most common, a harsh caw, has several qualities and lengths that may serve different purposes. You may also hear a variety of calls and alert calls given to rally others to mob predators.
– Inquisitive and sometimes mischievous, crows are good learners and problem-solvers, often raiding garbage cans and picking over discarded food containers. They’re also aggressive and often chase away larger birds including hawks, owls and herons.
– American crows are protected internationally by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918. Despite attempts by humans in some areas to drive away or eliminate these birds, they remain widespread and very common.
– American Crows congregate in large numbers in winter to sleep in communal roosts. These roosts can be of a few hundred up to two million crows. Some roosts have been forming in the same general area for well over 100 years.
– American Crows are crafty foragers that sometimes follow adult birds to find where their nests are hidden. They sometimes steal food from other animals.
*information about American Crows from http://www.allaboutbirds.org