CROWS

5 07 2008

Do we need to talk about birds? Of course.

This crow was part of a long-term study of American Crows conducted by Kevin McGowan in the Ithaca, New York, area. It succumbed to West Nile virus in 2003, when it was 13 years old.

This crow was part of a long-term study of American Crows conducted by Kevin McGowan in the Ithaca, New York, area. It succumbed to West Nile virus in 2003, when it was 13 years old.

What about crows—we Americans are laden with European fearfulness. “Oh a crow, I hate crows” (Oh a crow I love love love them.)

—the crow, raven rook black birds that gather in huge groups sometimes, in murders, carrion eaters, load and croaking.

West Nile loves these birds. And probably not because they carry it to other creatures. It kills them too quickly to make them good carrier candidates. In Ithaca a huge proportion of birds died. How does their social behavior change? (Sick female on a wire—the male fed her all day, she could not feed herself). At least the last I heard, rather than dispersing to new open territories as would be expected based on strict cost benefit analysis survivors group with nonkin—as though the pull of social interaction outweighs the riches of a new large territory.

Crows, with their big heads, their tool usage. Here is something new: caveman, Cheney. Wearing a Cheny or a caveman mask to trap crows, researchers found that anyone wearing the mask after the trapping would be mobbed and harassed up to and beyond a year after the trapping (Marzluff et al. see (Alaska Science Forum).

Birds have long memories.

Two crows on a branch dwarfed by enormous pieces of plastic tied in place and billowing around them–white to their black.

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