Observation Logs, Michigan, U.S.A. The American Crow, Corvus brachyrhynchos.

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Michigan Crow Observation Logs

Updated: September 18, 2001.

Coldwater, MI: Winter of 99-00 through present(reported 7/12/01)

Location_Description: We live in the country and have a woods out back of the house (marshy area). There is a decent size yard between the house and woods.

Behavior: During the winter of '99-'00 my father had thrown out some chicken giblets (was baking a chicken) outside the back door just to see if maybe a hawk would come down and eat it. (BTW, we have surrounding woods around our yard) It attracted several crows (about 5-6). Since then we have thrown out food (mostly table scraps) and they have since been coming back to eat. During one time that a chicken carkus was thrown out a hawk come down to peck at it and the crows didn't like that, they "Caw"ed at him and pecked at his tail feathers until he left. Over the next couple months there remained 2 crows that always came around to check for food. We ended up calling the one crow Jack for no particular reason. Once it got warm outside my dad would open up the back door and set at a chair at the table (kitchen). These 2 crows (mostly Jack) would see him there and come down to the back door. My father would talk with them through the door and throw out cheese and other scraps at these times. He's even spoken "Hey Jack" when at the door and with not throwing out food while he was setting there, the crow briefly "squaked" (assuming he was "squaking" to say "feed me"). These 2 crows within 3 months would (and still do) come within 3-4ft from us. They pick up the food, eat some, stuff the rest in thier beaks (usually the most possible that will fit in there) and then go hide it somewhere in the yard. I usually step just outside the door and toss out cheese when I see them in a nearby tree and they will fly down and eat it while I toss it out to them. Jack has been the tamest coming within almost arms reach of me to pick up food that I have tossed. Jack walks with a sort of "waddle" while the other (believed to be Jack's mate) seems to hop more (hence we started calling him/her Skippy). We have observed them playing with rabbits in the back yard before, one crow would walk up behind a rabbit, jump at it and the rabbit would hop a couple times. About a month ago these 2 crow had a young. When we throw out food now, they [line missing]. They still come around almost every day (usually several times a day) to see if there is food.

South Oakland County, Michigan: September through June 1990-2000 (reported 7/6/01)

Location_Description: The area around the school had short grass with two dozen or more large old trees of various species including maple, oak, and shagbark hickory. At the edges of the school property were thickly wooded areas, and beyond the woods was a subdivision of houses.

Behavior: For about ten years I observed crows around the school where I taught science. For a long time I wondered what attracted them and then one day I saw one carry off the body of a bird. The school building had many windows and glass "hallways". The song birds we fed from several bird feeding stations would often fly into the glass, apparently thinking they could fly through to the space on the other side. As soon as one of the birds did this, the crows would pounce and eat the stunned bird. This explained the piles of feathers near the windows.(Ed Byrnes)

North Oakland County, Michigan: Late April to Mid May 2001 (reported 7/6/01)

Location_Description: Backyard of a home in the old part of downtown Rochester, Michigan. We have a lot of large old maple trees in and around the homes here in Rochester.

A baby crow was successfully raised in a tree in our back yard. The nest could be seen before the leaves filled in. The baby crow "cried" and cried for food all the time. There are many crows in the area, they can be heard in the morning and during the day. I run in the morning and see crows all along the route. On garbage days you can see them picking tidbits of leftover food from holes they have pecked in plastic disposal bags. When they walk they have a somewhat odd kind of stalk. This morning on was walking or stalking insects on the concrete sidewalk and driveway. I've decided to try to feed them regularly so that I might observe them more throughout the year. I have a suet cake, dry dog food, Dorito corn chips and blue corn chips in a big dog food dish about 2 feet from the ground. I'll post if and when they start feeding. I'd like any info available about the backyard feeding of crows. I do not know the species of crow as yet. (Ed Byrnes)

Warren Michigan: July 5, 2001

A crow was caught in the very closed space of my garden picket fence--both legs were caught and he could not move. I very carefully slid both his legs up and released him. When I put him on the ground he flopped about for mobility, dragging both legs behind him. Meanwhile there was a group of crows above me cawing as in scolding. Hoping they would come to his rescue, I left them alone for about an hour and came back to find him still struggling with not a bird in sight. I finally put him in a deep bucket and took him to a natural wildlife resource center where they specialize in bird rehabilitation. Did I do the right thing? Will my little foundling be O.K.? I was afraid to just leave him fearing cats, racoons and other predators. I think he was just a baby not even knowing how to hunt food.

Deaborn Heights, Michigan: Late May early June 2001 (reported 6/8/01)

Location_Description: Local Neighborhood

Behavior: We have never had crows in our suburban neighborhood til recently. There are about 20 or so I guess, I never stopped to count. They just hang out in the neighborhood trees and crow quite abit. They are just a nuisance and uncommon in this area til now. Can you shed some light on why they are around?

This section includes reports of various observers from the State of Michigan.

Troy, Michigan: 6/4/01.

In a large well-groomed apartment complex where I live, many crows inhabit. Recently, I heard a loud rustling in a 30 foot high tree nest. Then, a "crying" sound, as if crows were grieving, for about 30 seconds. Then, two large crows flew out of the nest, seemingly pursuing a smaller bird. They all disappeared from my view. The crows' "cry" was strikingly touching; there seemed to be a tragedy happening. Is this what may have been, their voices "crying" in that way?

Kent County Michigan: winter/spring 1949 (reported 6/3/00)

Location_Description: forty acre onion farm

Behavior: A tame crow appeared one day and visited with my family for about 2 or 3 months, this bird was free to come and go and was a real delight and plenty of trouble if anything shiny was left unguarded. He seemed to hate our chickens and I remember him clearly sitting on top of our chicken coop making sounds of a hen cackling and then swooping down on the chickens just to frighten them.A very intelligent bird, the last time I saw him was on top of a tree in the distance just cackling away.I have regarded crows with affection ever since. (Jack Carter)

Hart, Michigan: May 16, 2000

Location_Description: The front yard at our cabin which is a meadow approximately 5 acres in size. The crow was in a path mowed through the meadow leading from the cabin to a river.

Behavior: While eating breakfast, I seen a crow land in our path about 100 feet from my window which is a very common occurance except that this crow seemed to be stalking something. He was almost sinister in his appearance - body flattened low to the ground, moving very, very slowly. It reminded me of a cat stalking his prey. I got the binocculars and seen that there was a blue racer snake about 3 feet in length on the path in front of him. The crow began to attack the snake with his beak over and over again. The snake would try to bite him (and looked like he did a few times) and the crow would jump back momentarily. This went on for a long time, maybe 30 minutes or so. The snake then tried to run for it by trying to get off the path into the long grass/weeds of the meadow but the crow would grab him by the tail and pull him back into the path each time and continue with his attack. Finally after almost one hour it appeared that he had killed the snake. He then flew off but reappeared a few minutes later, walked around the snake warily and flew off again. He came back about 5 minutes later. Another crow landed by him and he chased it off repeatedly and finally picked up the snake and flew away.

Comments: The appearance of the crow while stalking the snake was a new experience to me. I have observed numerous crows out in our meadow hunting for whatever but his behavior and appearace was eerie from the moment he landed. I had no idea they would tackle such a large, aggressive prey. (Kim Mayberry)

Western Michigan: April 25, 2000

Over the past weekend I noticed crows building a nest in a pine tree in my back yard. Today I woke to the sounds of what appears to be a young crow. The times three of them....stay very close to the nest... They seem to perch within 100 yards of the nest to keep an eye on the situation. I have witnessed a couple of "fights" right at the nest. I find the 3rd crow to be a bit of a puzzle. At first I did not know if it was there to help or hurt the current situation. I am guessing the sound I am hearing from the nest is a newborn. I find it strange though that so far I have only heard one. I seem to have limited success feeding the crows suet.. I will try some venison and also some chips and see if I can assist in the feeding of the new family members. (Dave Kingma)

Petoskey, Michigan, Northern Lower Peninsula: March 28 - April 2, 2000

I have reported on my Downtown buddies, but lately we have been watching very closely to a wooded site west of town on a bluff above Lake Michigan. A Large stand of Oak trees is the site of a nest! If you know where to look, they can be seen easily. The birds worked on thier stick weaving for about 8 days before brooding began. They are very safe, as the tree is above 65 feet in the air over the bluff. The vocalizations of the parents is quite different... alot of "growling" and "rolling R's" come from the nest. I wish I had better means to record them, but I am becoming quite adept at imitating these noises with my own series of Wooden crow calls...The pair are quite attentive to one another as one sits, bringing morsels of food and additional nest materials. We will continue to update the nesting... (Robert & CarolAnn Vaughan)

South of Fenton, Michigan: On Sunny Days (reported 3/31/00)

Crows have been tearing up the lawn since last fall. Of course they didn't do it from December to February. The ground was frozen. They have cleared about an acre of grass from various spots around the yard. (We cut about 6 acres.) They are after something in the soil. I suspect grubs. (We have moles.) We seeded the spots they tore up last fall.

Comments: We have been living here since 1970. This is the first time that we have ever witnessed this behavior anywhere. We figure that they will stop and go somewhere else when the food is gone. That's when we will reseed the rest. Today a flicker was eating where the crows had been busy. (Glenda McLellan)

Front yard. Twenty feet from our house in a tall honey locust tree. Behavior: Looked out the window. Saw a crow in a tree with something big in his mouth. Got the binoculars. He had gotten ahold of waffle from somewhere. Maybe a neighbor; maybe a neighbor's garbage. It didn't look like there was anything on the waffle.

Comments: Couldn't believe it. I had no idea crows would eat waffles. He seemed perfectly at ease with his prize.

Fri Mar 31 23:49:46 CST 2000 Information Requested Name: Glenda McLellan Email: Date: on sunny days Location: south of Fenton, Michigan Location_Description: Front yard. Behavior: Crows have been tearing up the lawn since last fall. Of course they didn't do it from December to February. The ground was frozen. They have cleared about an acre of grass from various spots around the yard. (We cut about 6 acres.) They are after something in the soil. I suspect grubs. (We have moles.) We seeded the spots they tore up last fall. Comments: We have been living here since 1970. This is the first time that we have ever witnessed this behavior anywhere. We figure that they will stop and go somewhere else when the food is gone. That's when we will reseed the rest. Today a flicker was eating where the crows had been busy.

Northern Lower Michigan: September 1999 thru Present

Location_Description: Downtown Petoskey Mich. on the Lake Michigan waterfront. On and around my office window on an almost daily basis.

Behavior: My particular Murder of friends has the unnerving habit of trying to frighten me and others who use the front door into my office. They will sit on the eves above the door and when a person exits the building, they will commence a loud raspy cacophony of sounds! They don't fly away, but they will fly a short distance away to observe the reaction to their behavior. I throw popcorn and other things to them occassionally, which they gladly eat. I sit in front of a large window and they seem to enjoy looking in on my daily routine. I miss them when they don't show.

One other behavior: I have seen these birds "sliding" down the side of a large snowbank several times, often as many as 5 or 6 times each for a distance of 7 or 8 feet!

Comments: I really feel that the corvids are "playing". The behavior seems to have no real Reason to it, because they do not get fed very often by me. But they do show up routinely, and many of our clientele have been surprised by them. These are Intelligent creatures which seem to have need of playtime...They exhibit personality. One of them is the Instigator. Another is the Guardian, while yet another is the "Dork" of the group. (Robert & CarolAnn Vaughan)

(This section will be added to on a continuing basis. Your comments and suggestions are welcomed. Other parts of the site are also under construction. This site will be continually expanding as the Project grows.)

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