Birds Illustrated by Color Photography – Revisited
Vol 1. March, 1897 No. 3
Caw! Caw! Caw! little boys and girls. Caw! Caw! Caw! Just look at my coat of feathers. See how black and glossy it is. Do you wonder I am proud of it?
Perhaps you think I look very solemn and wise, and not at all as if I cared to play games. I do, though; and one of the games I like best is hide-and-seek. I play it with the farmer in the spring. He hides, in the rich, brown earth, golden kernels of corn. Surely he does it because he knows I like it, for sometimes he puts up a stick all dressed like a man to show where the corn is hidden. Sometimes I push my bill down into the earth to find the corn, and at other times I wait until tiny green leaves begin to show above the ground, and then I get my breakfast without much trouble. I wonder if the farmer enjoys this game as much as I do. I help him, too, by eating worms and insects.
During the spring and summer I live in my nest on the top of a very high tree. It is built of sticks and grasses and straw and string and anything else I can pick up. But in the fall, I and all my relations and friends live together in great roosts or rookeries. What good times we do have—hunting all day for food and talking all night. Wouldn’t you like to be with us?
The farmer who lives in the house over there went to the mill to-day with a load of corn.
One of the ears dropped out of the wagon and it didn’t take me long to find it. I have eaten all I can possibly hold and am wondering now what is the best thing to do. If you were in my place would you leave it here and not tell anybody and come back to-morrow and finish it? Or would you fly off and get Mrs. Crow and some of the children to come and finish it? I believe I’ll fly and get them. Good-bye.
Caw! Caw! Caw!
THE COMMON CROW.
“The crow doth sing as merry as the lark,
When neither is attended.”
EW birds have more interesting characteristics than the Common Crow, being, in many of his actions, very like the Raven, especially in his love for carrion. Like the Raven, he has been known to attack game, although his inferior size forces him to call to his assistance the aid of his fellows to cope with larger creatures. Rabbits and hares are frequently the prey of this bird which pounces on them as they steal abroad to feed. His food consists of reptiles, frogs, and lizards; he is a plunderer of other birds’ nests. On the seashore he finds crabs, shrimps and inhabited shells, which he ingeniously cracks by flying with them to a great height and letting them fall upon a convenient rock.
The crow is seen in single pairs or in little bands of four or five. In the autumn evenings, however, they assemble in considerable flocks before going to roost and make a wonderful chattering, as if comparing notes of the events of the day.
The nest of the Crow is placed in some tree remote from habitations of other birds. Although large and very conspicuous at a distance, it is fixed upon one of the topmost branches quite out of reach of the hand of the adventurous urchin who longs to secure its contents. It is loosely made and saucer shaped. Sticks and softer substances are used to construct it, and it is lined with hair and fibrous roots. Very recently a thrifty and intelligent Crow built for itself a summer residence in an airy tree near Bombay, the material used being gold, silver, and steel spectacle frames, which the bird had stolen from an optician of that city. Eighty-four frames had been used for this purpose, and they were so ingeniously woven together that the nest was quite a work of art. The eggs are variable, or rather individual, in their markings, and even in their size. The Crow rarely uses the same nest twice, although he frequently repairs to the same locality from year to year. He is remarkable for his attachment to his mate and young, surpassing the Fawn and Turtle Dove in conjugal courtesy.
And he lives to a good old age. Instances are not rare where he has attained to half a century, without great loss of activity or failure of sight.
At Red Bank, a few miles northeast of Cincinnati, on the Little Miami River, in the bottoms, large flocks of Crows congregate the year around. A few miles away, high upon Walnut Hills, is a Crow roost, and in the late afternoons the Crows, singly, in pairs, and in flocks, are seen on the wing, flying heavily, with full crops, on the way to the roost, from which they descend in the early morning, crying “Caw! Caw!” to the fields of the newly planted, growing, or matured corn, or corn stacks, as the season may provide.
The Raven family which includes the Crows is mentioned in Scripture in the list of unclean birds in Leviticus and Deuteronomy (14:14) as “after its kind.”
every raven after its kind, (Leviticus 11:15 NKJV)
Crows form the genus Corvus in the Corvidae – Crows, Jays Family. Ranging in size from the relatively small pigeon-size jackdaws (Eurasian and Daurian) to the Common Raven of the Holarctic region and Thick-billed Raven of the highlands of Ethiopia, the 40 or so members of this genus occur on all temperate continents (except South America) and several offshore and oceanic islands (except for a few, which included Hawaii, which had the Hawaiian crow that went extinct in the wild in 2002). In the United States and Canada, the word “crow” is used to refer to the American Crow.
The crow genus makes up a third of the species in the Corvidae family. A group of crows is called a flock or, more poetically, a murder, But the term “murder of crows” mostly reflects a time when groupings of many animals had colorful and poetic names. For example, other “group” names include: an ostentation of peacocks, a parliament of owls, a knot of frogs, and a skulk of foxes.
Recent research has found some crow species capable not only of tool use but of tool construction as well. Crows are now considered to be among the world’s most intelligent animals. As a group, crows show remarkable examples of intelligence. Crows and ravens often score very highly on intelligence tests. Certain species top the avian IQ scale. Wild hooded crows in Israel have learned to use bread crumbs for bait-fishing. Crows will engage in a kind of mid-air jousting, or air-“chicken” to establish pecking order. Crows have been found to engage in feats such as sports, tool use, the ability to hide and store food across seasons, episodic-like memory,[vague] and the ability to use individual experience in predicting the behavior of environmental conspecifics.
One species, the New Caledonian Crow, has also been intensively studied recently because of its ability to manufacture and use its own tools in the day-to-day search for food. These tools include ‘knives’ cut from stiff leaves and stiff stalks of grass. Another skill involves dropping tough nuts into a trafficked street and waiting for a car to crush them open. On October 5, 2007, researchers from the University of Oxford, England presented data acquired by mounting tiny video cameras on the tails of New Caledonian Crows. It turned out that they use a larger variety of tools than previously known, plucking, smoothing, and bending twigs and grass stems to procure a variety of foodstuffs. Recent research suggests that crows have the ability to recognize one individual human from another by facial features.
The above article is an article in the monthly serial for March 1897 “designed to promote Knowledge of Bird-Live.” These include Color Photography, as they call them, today they are drawings. There are at least three Volumes that have been digitized by Project Gutenberg.
To see the whole series of – Birds Illustrated by Color Photography – Revisited
(Information from Wikipedia and other internet sources)
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Crow – Wikipedia