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The `Brainy & Audacious Crow.'

"I find crows fascinating and fun to watch.  They have large brains for birds and are as intelligent as monkeys" say Dr. Kevin McGowan, Ph.D., a researcher at Cornell University.  I agree with him.  There are four species, the most common being the American crow, (Corvus brachyrhynchos), that is found in every state except Hawaii.  

They are not fussy diners and can be referred to as vacuum cleaners with wings.  They eat bugs, snakes, garbage, road kill and waste grain in fields and despite their overblown reputation for raiding gardens, they can be quite beneficial, eating enormous numbers of damaging insects -including white lawn grubs.  They do love plant seedlings and you may have to protect them if you have a large population of crows in your area.  Try surrounding plants with string and affixing shiny ribbons that freely blow in the wind.  Change out the ribbons for other shiny stuff like aluminum foil strips to keep them on guard.

The crow is a family bird and mate for life.  They never chase off their offspring.  The `kids' will stick around for years, helping out mom & dad to build nest and gather food for their younger siblings.  There is a close-knit family group.  They are natural mimics besides their caw; they can utter rattles, clicks, bell tones, bulldozer engines, dog barks, ringing telephones and human speech.

Crows belong to the Corvidae family, which includes Ravens, Magpies, and jays.  An adult is 17-21 inches long and weighs about one pound.  Predators include, mainly raccoons, owls, hawks and man.  On average they live 7 to 8 years.
They will only migrate if temps. Drop consistently below zero degrees in January and only as far south as necessary.
People either love or hate crows, partly because we have assigned myths and certain behaviors to them.

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