Species group: Corvidae
Other common names: Corneille d'Amérique; Cuervo americano
Scientific name: Corvus brachyrhynchos
The American Crow, the most widespread native crow in North America, is known to be one of the world's most highly intelligent birds. This social crow's ability to mimic, solve problems, and play tricks has sparked legends that go back for centuries.
In the United States this species is protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty of 1918, so they can't be traded on the pet market. If a U.S. resident wants to work with American Crows, your best chance is to volunteer with a wild bird rescue.
This highly successful North American crow thrives in the wild thanks to its intelligence and adaptability. A possible challenge appeared in 1999, when West Nile Virus (WNV) entered New York and eventually spread across the continent. Almost 100% of crows infected with this neurological disease will die within a week, causing declines in American Crow populations in some areas. However, at least for now, this familiar species seems fairly secure.
There are three other lookalike species – Fish Crow, Northwestern Crow, and Tamaulipus Crow. The smaller Fish Crow, in particular, appears to be expanding in the east, especially along coasts and waterways. However, the American Crow and Fish Crow are easily distinguished as soon as the birds speak up. The Fish Crow has a distinct nasal “Unh uh” caw that makes it sound as if the bird is disagreeing with you.
The American Crow is a striking, solid black.
450 grams (16 oz.)
53 centimeters (21 in.)
Behavior / temperament:
A baby American Crow, imprinted on its human owner from an early age, can learn to speak and will become dependent on humans for food and companionship. Rescue workers may have to take special steps, such as using a feeding puppet, to avoid imprinting if they plan to rehabilitate the bird for return to the wild. Hunting permits can be issued for crows in areas where they are regarded as agricultural pests, so you don't want your crow to be too friendly to humans if the bird will eventually be released.
The active American Crow deserves the largest flight or aviary that you can reasonably provide, with plenty of enrichment items like toys and swings to capture its imagination. The aviary or playpen needs to be located where these highly social birds can enjoy your companionship throughout the day.
Some people in the past have free flown imprinted birds, allowing them to offer a somewhat smaller sleep cage. However, you need to be alert to keep your curious crow out of trouble. Like other corvids, they are well-known for stealing and hiding shiny objects, including jewelry.
American Crows are considered omnivorous, but they consume a protein-rich diet including live grubs, eggs, and even tiny vertebrates in addition to green food, carrion, grain, and fruit. A captive diet could include a low iron softbill crumble supplemented with mealworms, crickets, and other insects as well as treats like cooked chicken, chopped grapes, tiny pinky mice, and more.
Written by Elaine Radford
lovable bird, intelligence, rehab situation
MENTAL STIMULATION, bird knowledge, loud bird, Crow babies, pets
worms, fresh meat, distinctive sounds, Baby wipes, shiny things
Wildlife Rehab Woes
Here's a fun fact: Crows probably shouldn't be pets. I was fortunate enough to raise abandon youngsters and release them into a foster flock when they were big enough. They are so intelligent. I mean, I taught the babies sign language in two feedings. Simple hand gestures that prepared them for food. They do enjoy human company, and you can see that they love being able to communicate clearly with their provider, but nothing beats releasing them into the wild foster flock where they were able to become a part of crow culture again. I don't recommend crows as pets for a few reasons. First, they're so smart you'll have to really think about everything you do around them. Their intelligence is unforgiving, they will see where you put the peanut butter. They will wait until you aren't around, and they will break into the peanut butter and ruin your couch. And laptop. They need constant enrichment and a giant area in which to remain mentally and physically fit. Overall, if you're into crows, respect them as a sentient species that doesn't need to be controlled by humans. For the most part, they're fine out in the wild. They're watching you. They're waiting to steal your peanut butter..
From Peregrine Jan 10 2018 4:00AM
American crows - so intelligent it's a little scary!
American crows are illegal for most people to own - but if for some reason you do find yourself with an American crow (maybe from a failed rehab situation?) they are really cool to be able to interact with. Their intelligence is equivalent to parrots - but I would say they are also a bit more prone to applying their intelligence to mischievousness. They learn what you teach them incredibly fast... but they also learn how to do things you didn't teach them (and maybe didn't want them to learn) very fast too. Their diet is a wide variety things - from a specific pellet, to a mixture of different raw meats, to fruits and vegetables, to nuts, to mealworms, to egg. The more variety in their diet, the better, as long as you're making sure to keep it low in fat, and make sure they are getting all of their required nutrients. These guys need so much enrichment it's not even funny. Their diet should never be "free fed" as they do something called "contrafreeloading" where they actually prefer to work for their food than get it for free. If you're not using their diet to train them (although you definitely should use at least a part of it!) the rest of it can be hidden inside all different kinds of enrichment for hours of fun. Crows need a large space to live in, where they can fly and move around, and they are not a "pet" like some other species of bird. They may learn to interact closely with you, but these guys are wild animals through and through, and should always be treated as such..
From rane4102 Dec 31 2014 6:24AM