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Crows are members of the corvid family of birds. Corvids also include magpies, blackbirds, ravens and bluejays and more. All these birds live in colonies and are very territorial.
They generally have a specific gathering place, or home, to which they return each night. This is usually the branches of a large tree or the branches of a group of trees, where the trees are very close together, almost entwined with each other.
They begin returning to home-base in the evening, before it is completely dark. They line up side-by-side on the tree branches. There is very little sound from them at this time. They remain there until the first morning light and then off they go for another day of hunting for food, playing flying games with each other. They have their own territory, and that is why often when, for example, crows are found in an area, no other corvids will be seen in the area.
Some corvids migrate each year as they go in search of warmer weather. In warm climates, they generally do not migrate but stay in their home territory.
During the day, they may fly many miles in search of food. They eat plants, including seeds, fruit and vegetables (vegetables to a lesser degree). Also being meat-eaters, and actually preferring meat, they feast on dead animals. They are often seen in the road or on the roadside eating animals who have been killed by automobiles. They are great in cleaning up what would otherwise become a smelly carcass. They also eat eggs, and they will steal the eggs from other bird's nests.
Corvids also eat insects, and they can be a great help to keep down the population of damaging insects. I have seen magpies go into an open orchard early in the morning and literally eat dozens of grasshoppers! The birds will get on the ground, stalk the grasshopper and then jump as high as 3 or 4 feet into the air to grab the escaping grasshopper! In the case of insect control, corvids are very beneficial.
Corvids are also great snake alarm systems! When they see a snake, they will complain loudly, squawking and squawking, often darting down to peck at the snake. This is most helpful in areas where snakes are found. Whenever several (or even one) corvid is seen squawking and appearing very upset, there is most likely a snake around the area.
In some areas, they are considered pests. They tend to get into open trash barrels. Also, farmers sometimes suffer crop loss when they have a particularly tasty crop in the field or on the tree. In some jurisdictions, corvids are legal game and can be killed.
Corvids are very smart birds and can sometimes be heard mimicking human voices and laughter, dogs barking and more! They will sit in groups on utility lines or in trees and babble their sounds, almost sounding like a crowd of people! They are very social birds.
Here is a wonderful website with photos of different corvids: http://montereybay.com/creagrus/corvids.html
I hope this answers your question, but please let me know if you need further information.
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