Bird of the Week

Photo courtesy Charles Martinez

This week’s Bird of the Week, compliments of the Weminuche Audubon Society and Audubon Rockies, is the American crow.
Crows are among the most common birds in our area and, in fact, most of North America. Flocks, called “murders,” can be found wherever there is food, particularly in fields, around dumpsters and along roads. Their shiny black feathers and distinctive “caw, caw” call is unmistakable. Their flight style is a constant flapping that is rarely broken up with glides.
Among the smartest of birds, crows are crafty foragers that sometimes follow adult birds to find where their nests are hidden. Crows also catch fish, eat from outdoor dog dishes and take fruit from trees.
Crows sometimes make and use tools. Examples include captive crows using a cup to carry water over to a bowl of dry mash, and shaping a piece of wood and then sticking it into a hole in a fence post in search of food.
People often confuse crows and common ravens, but there are subtle differences to help with identification. Most obvious is the generally larger size of the raven. The raven has a larger beak and somewhat unkempt feathers. Ravens have a very coarse croaking call and tend to soar more than crows. Ravens’ tails are V-shaped in flight.
Finally, ravens are more solitary and are usually seen individually or in pairs, while crows are often seen in larger groups.
For information on local bird-watching events, visit and