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The crow is not as simple as it seems

In our country are inhabited by two species of crows. Grey crow all well know. The main background its color is dirty gray, and only the head, wings and tail are black.

In Eastern Siberia, the river Lena, Kamchatka and Sakhalin, it replaces Raven black color, in which all the plumage is black, with a metallic sheen. A crow is a little larger, also black, but with a long and massive bill, for which he received its name. This species is found together with black crow, but the area is small — the Far East South. Common Raven are very wide, not only in the extreme North-East of the country. It occurs in all landscapes, but still prefers cultural, deaf taiga forests avoids.
In the European part of the country hooded crows start nest building in early March, usually on high trees, but sometimes in reed beds or on rocky ledges. Participation in the construction of take both birds incubate the eggs, the female and the male feed and vigilantly protects her from the intrusion of other birds, including large raptors, which energetically drives to the breeding territory by constant raids in the air and dive-attacks with a loud and fast noise. Even the Goshawk, kite, white-tailed eagle did not dare close to the nest.

Fledglings pair of Raven guards more actively, violently attacking anyone who approaches him, even terrestrial predators, and sometimes the person attacking him from approaching, stealthily, scratching with their claws and beak. Not everyone can withstand such attacks, several times I saw myself as, head in her hands, and fled, not only children and women, but also men.
Growing up, young birds with their parents gather in herds, and sometimes in large flocks of several hundred birds. Such mixed flocks with other species of corvids (rooks, jackdaws, magpies) are formed in areas rich in forage — on-site landfills, livestock, fur farms, fish processing facilities, treated fields. Here crows find rich pickings and often from nomadic to become sedentary, never leaving the selected area in a lifetime. And its duration is about 6-12 years. A crow in captivity can live much longer.

Crows are not devoid of a certain intelligence and in the process of life can learn from. This is probably one of the most intelligent species of birds. I remember once we took care of fallen out of the nest quite yet tiny, just starting to fledge crow. Very quickly he got used to the environment, became absolutely manual, but was always hungry. Growing young body required a lot of food. Had to get up at dawn and feed widely revealing the beak, flapping wings and screaming nasty chick. Seeing the home team came back from work, he ran across the floor to meet him, and when he began to fly, was flying from room to room, destroying everything in its path, and yet it is not well fed, was not far behind. After eating, instantly fell asleep in the back of the sofa, but after a couple of hours again demanded food. When the crow became an adult, pre-akolava, released it into the wild. Taking off at a high poplar to wild brethren, he quickly adapted to a free life and after two or three days, no longer flew to the call of the owners.

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Crows are omnivorous but prefer animal food. Surprised by the attentiveness and sharpness of crows in procuring food. In Moscow at one of the public Parking on the street was standing a few tables for visitors. Kind of flawed adult crow is disabled, frayed with a short tail and crooked paws, absolutely not afraid of people, flew on the table and loudly cawing, demanded gifts. Some visitors squeamish chased her, while she defended beak, and sometimes even attacked. Others do not deny treats. She especially loved the meat pies, fast wycleaf stuffing, made for rest. Not adapt it to produce food in this way, her days would be numbered.

More than once I watched as seizing beak river basin-the thick shelled river mussel, a crow rose up high and threw her on the rocks or asphalt, then broken shells extracted contents. Early morning the crows as well, and crows constantly flying along roads and Railways, vigilantly examining the tracks and the curb in search of downed animals. By the way, the ravens get under the vehicle extremely rare. The same is observed in places of extraction of hoofed animals. Loud cries of crows to alert the rest of the loot and all the surrounding population of corvids quickly fly there, from a collective feast. Wolves, foxes, Martens and other predators are well aware of the importance of these sounds and night will not miss the opportunity to check this place out.

Eyes vigilance and intelligence Raven strike. Taking somewhere on a high tree an observation post, a crow just watching everything happening around. Once a person or animal in the nesting period to lift from under the feet of any bird, like a crow will remember and be sure to check the suspicious location, and finding a nest with eggs or Chicks, eat the contents.

And as the crows carefully examine every bump, hollow, after mowing or plowing, collecting insects, pillaging nests, feeding Chicks, than, undoubtedly, cause great harm. At the same time disturbing and often croak they warn the animal of danger and drive away the uninvited guests. And how inappropriate they suddenly start screaming and circling above the hut in Razliv, grouse current or ambush, seeing the hunter. Animals are well aware of the alarming cries of crows.
Sometimes crows even start playing with each other. Like I once saw in the winter. One of the birds barely sat on the top of a pointed thick rod of lightning rod, and four others while flying in a circle, eventually drove her from the place while it is spinning in the rod defended. Following immediately took its place as a bird’s carousel re-opened, and another “king of the hill” unable to withstand the onslaught, left the pin.

Or — here! Raven found a small ball and seizing his beak, moved on a sloping roof. Compressing beak and funny she tilted her head, carefully watched him, Bouncing with a thud sliding down. Then flew up and looked where he will fall again to pick it up and repeat everything again. This was repeated many times. But as the group of crows brings to the frenzy cat, especially if she was in the tree! One distracts, the other grabs the tail or pinch the hind legs.

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Hunters know that a crow is not so easy to shoot. She know the difference between a man with a gun against unarmed. Once on spring hunting in the Kirillov district of the Vologda region was able to catch a lot of fish. Immediately to use it for food all we could not, therefore, selecting the spring rather deep puddle, left the part of live prey in it. After a couple days noticed that fish became smaller and plotwise someone hurt. From a window of the house in a long abandoned village of loggers, where we lived, began to see the puddle and saw a crow that regularly steal our booty. Tried to approach it to a distance shot, watched, hiding in the nearby trees, but it was useless. Closer than one hundred meters of the Raven who sat, as a rule, a high, free-standing birch, were not allowed.

And now I have a plan. The settlement was abandoned twelve years ago, and the crow, apparently, lived there since ancient times and seen things. Once again going with dawn, I noticed her at the same observation point. Holding the gun behind his back with one hand, swaying from side to side and bawling the song “napilasya I am drunk”, was closer to the smart bird, pretending that she is absolutely uninteresting to me. As they say, “and good marksman may miss”. Crow, let me at forty meters, curiously, and when they realized the trick and began to take off, it was too late. More fish have no pecks.

Another case, characterizing an excellent memory and observation of birds. Once scientific research had to produce a crow. In laboratory house stood a few tall birches, on which I loved to rest and clean the feathers of a crow. Selecting the most “beautiful”, I fired a gun. Bird with lump collapsed into the grass. Leaving the room, I picked her up and carried her to himself. What happened! Dozens of crows with cries of anger followed me, circling at high altitude. In the evening, on the way to work, a few hundred yards I was accompanied by the same escort; in the morning the next day, at lunch and in the evening, the same thing happened. After two or three days, as an experiment, I twice changed clothes, but birds still immediately raised the alarm, as soon as I went outside. Asked the comrades, women and men, wearing my jacket, which shot a crow, walk down the street. No reaction of the birds was not observed, which meant that they recognized me in the face. This continued for six days until the local crow population has not calmed down.

There is no doubt that this large and very plastic view of the nest period brings great harm not only hunting, but also other species of animals. No wonder in the recent past for shooting crows hotcollection accrued points, and for the birds feet gave cartridge. Unfortunately, this practice is now almost no, and the cartridges are not cheap. The most effective would be shooting crows specialists in the spring (March, April), during the period of incubation of the nests when nest clearly visible on noblestwin the trees, and the hatching bird let close, or catching the special traps. But who’s going to do now?

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