Observation Logs, Ontario, Canada. The American Crow, Corvus brachyrhynchos.
Ontario Crow Observation Logs
This section includes reports of various observers from the Province of Ontario.
Riverside Park, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada: February 5-9, 2001
Location_Description: Riverside Park East borders on the old Airport Parkway. Betwwen that Highway and the houses there is a woodlot consisting maily of fairly tall maples.
Behavior: This woodlot has been used this winter by 1000-2000 crows as a pre-night-time roost. The crows arrive from at least two directions in mid-to-late afternoon and spend some time in the woodlot before flying further north just before dark. The crows are very agitated and much bolder than normal. One afternoon some 20-40 crows descended into the crab apple next to my house and ate the old dried crabapples.
Of particular interest to me was a new sound I had never heard from crows. Although the great majotiry was uttering the raucous caaw-caw-caw sounds, there wasone bird uttering a KRRRRRR with head thrown forward and upward and the bill open. Also, the crows descended onto the street and pecked holes in the plastic garbage bags that had been put out for pickup the next day. This is probably not all that unusual, but I had not seen them do that so boldly in our neighbourhood. (Hans Blokpoel)
01/14/2001: Toronto, Canada
Location_Description: Abandoned Fountain at the rear of an Apt. building. People rarely go there and so the animals have taken over quite nicely. Said fountain is just below my 3rd floor balcony.
Behavior: Family of 6 crows.(ABC, American) One, a female (I know this because she was missing for awhile and then returned with a fledgling) is lame. 2 dominant, 2 helpers and the baby who was born last year. Observed:Rolling raw meat around peanuts, lining up the peanuts and taking them in their beaks according to size.
Comments: I have been feeding the crows (family) for 2 years now....so I have had the opportunity to watch them over time as they have grown accostomed to me. So I have been experimenting with their known behaviors and seeing where I can take it. "My" Crows know me fairly well...to the point where they watch me, silently, walk my dog. If they want food, they will stand on the neighboring building and caw down at me (it is very obvious that they are directing their caws at me)Every morning..same time... they caw from the tree outside the balcony...until I come and feed them (I'm well trained!) Lately, they send only one. When I open the door....the one crow signals the others and they come one by one over and start feeding, the sentinal feeding last. (M. Falk)
12/4/00: Guelph, Southern Ontario, Canada
Location_Description: University Campus, very mature trees, at least three stories tall, open spaces of green, snow covered the ground. Agricultural University surrounded by 100 acre Arboretum and many feilds of corn and soy beans.
Behavior: At sundown, many crows in the hundreds would gather on the tops of trees. There were so many crows that the tree tops, bare of leaves appeared to be black. The crows would also pick at the ground of the empty parking lot. I remember that a snow storm was coming up. The crows would also fly in great numbers in the sky. There is a crows nest in one of the trees (sticks and bark). In the early summer, 2000 I witnessed a crow scare a baby racoon away from the nest. I have also witnessed a crow on the edge of the campus attack a rabbit and steal one of its babies. The crow flew with the baby rabbit over an empty field.(Emma Goldman)
Fort Erie, Ontario, Canada (near Buffalo, NY): March 6, 2000
Location_Description: Large bush area near a manufacturing facilty on the outskirts of town.
Behavior: Distinct Vocalizing and Posturing American Crows. I have photographs and a full text description on my web pages: http//www.iaw.on.ca/~jspirko/crow_v.htm" I just purchased a portable tape player and hope to record the vocalization. Web pages also indicate sources of similar behaviour in books.
Comments: Learned behaviour. I have observed many solitary crows (yet obviously part of a group) sit and practice this. Observed amoung several different crow groups. More info on my website as noted above. I have had as many as 5 crows at one time facing me and making the sound/posturing combination, for periods up to 20 minutes. Not mating behaviour as has been suggested, since this can occur year round. (John Spirco)
Williamstown, Ontario: May 1999 through February 7, 2000
I don't know if this is any help, but last may my daughter brought home a baby crow that fallen from his nest, and since it was at the top a big pine tree returning him was out of the question. Chris as he was named by my daughter soon became one of the family. He also became very well known in our little village. He never tried to fly; he was always happy with just being with one of us. When September came we knew he was never going to fly so we bought him a big cage and he moved in doors for the winter. At this point he realy became one of the family.
He had two stories written on him in two local news papers, the Standard Freeholder and the Glengarry News. He took 1st prize at the Williamstown fair for most unusual pet. Unfortunatly on Feb 7, 2000 we found Chris dead in his cage. The night before he was out and around, had a bath in the bath tub and was put back in his cage. Everthing seemed normal. The Glengarry News even did an Obituary on him. The writer said that she was going to miss him, simply because he had become part of out little community.
Behavior: He never bothered with the other crows even when they would land near him. (allan paradis)
Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario: A few years ago in August.
Location_Description: Shannon Rd. a busy street in a residential area. There are trees, both deciduous and coniferous. Telephone and electrical wires line the street.
A crow was hit by a car and killed. The bird's body remained on the road. Crows accumulated and sat on the telephone wire alongside the road. We heard the noise of a substantial amount of birds and went outside. More crows kept coming. They remained until my father went out in the street and removed the body from the street. Then the birds flew away. It was the strangest thing I'd ever seen regarding bird behaviour. (April Hadley)
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