Corvids: An Australian export?

I read an interesting article about corvids in Australia at The Conversation. I don't like to re-post full articles so, I will post a snippet and a link...
Corvids feature in the cave art of early humans. Their voices and actions reportedly stimulate human language and culture. Some research suggests that when humans interact with social crows, the things they see and learn can inspire their own rapid cultural evolution. Crows also seem to do things that people do (“talk” to each other, steal and hide things, use tools, “tease” other species, play), so it’s possible we’re all learning from one another.
You can read the whole article here.

Crows — An Australian Export?

Krahe Crow in Boots by Rudi Hurzlmeier
Krahe Crow in Boots by Rudi Hurzlmeier

I read an intriguing article about crows (and corvidae in general) and how they originated in an Australian part of Gondwana12, something I did not know. How very interesting! I learn something new every day! This article is worth reading but I won't re-post it here, I will link it instead. Just visit here to read the original article by Stephen Debus. Did you also know that Crows were most likely in the United States long before people?3 So, think of that next time you feel they are being pests and invading your land. Perhaps, the more likely story is you are invading theirs. It is a good idea to share and share alike with crows and humans alike. How much corn can they really eat? Plants a few extra stalk for them.
  1. In paleogeography, Gondwana (play /ɡɒndˈwɑːnə/), originally Gondwanaland, was the southernmost of two supercontinents (the other being Laurasia) that later became parts of the Pangaea supercontinent. It existed from approximately 510 to 180 million years ago (Mya). []
  2. Wikipedia []
  3. In the Company of Crows And Ravens By John M. Marzluff, Tony Angell, Paul R. Ehrlich []

Crazy Attack Crows?

If a crow seems angered by your presence, swooping at you or cawwing aggressively, it is most likely NOT just some crazy crow. It is probably a parent protecting its eggs and nest. It is easy to dismiss why a crow might be getting loud and obnoxious, disregarding the obvious---crows have a life too. What mother wouldn't accost a stranger who walks into their baby's nursery? That is exactly what we are doing when we walk by a tree. They have no walls, they have no privacy, but they have a lot of love and a strong instinct to protect their young. Read more here. (I am fortunate to live in Seattle where it seems the crows are interesting enough to make the news quite often! Yay Seattle! Yay for crows!)

The Revered, Reviled Crow Clan by Howard Youth

I read an excellent article about corvids from their habitat to myths and legends about them in the May/June 2001 issue of Zoogoer. I think it is worth the read. Here is an excerpt: For centuries, a dark specter haunted the bloody battlefields of Europe. Waiting to feast on the dead, common ravens lined up at bloody clashes between invaders and invaded, tribes and kingdoms. War-weary observers could not ignore the jet-black scavengers, with their four-foot-wide wingspreads and cross-shaped flight profiles. Ravens, not surprisingly, were branded harbingers of bad luck, or death. Away from the carnage, common ravens (Corvus corax) also coasted into folklore, legend, and language, strongly hinting that these creatures and their 100-plus brethren in the family Corvidae are not your average birds. Two ravens, Hugin (Thought) and Munin (Memory), rode the broad shoulders of the Norse god Odin. In Inuit legend, the raven became creator and trickster. In the Bible, Noah sent not only a dove but also a raven to seek land, as did many ancient mariners. Tame ravens still stroll within the Tower of London's walls, where for centuries they've been sequestered as guardians against invasion. One reason why ravens, crows, jackdaws, rooks, magpies, treepies, choughs, nutcrackers, and jays stand out is that they have above-average brains—proportionately, they possess the largest cerebral hemispheres of the feathered set. Plucky, crafty, curious, social, vocal, and adaptable, corvids, as family members are known, are among our most familiar yet enigmatic neighbors. On all continents save Antarctica, they flourish in backyards and wilderness, although more than 20 species barely hang on within shrinking habitats. Ethiopia's thick-billed raven (Corvus crassirostris), bigger than a red-tailed hawk, is the world's largest songbird, while the dun-colored Hume's ground-jay (Pseudopodoces humilis) of the Tibetan plains is the smallest family member. In between lies a broad spectrum of glossy, splashy, and plume-tailed characters. You can read the rest of the article here.