Excerpts from Jim Conrad's
from the April 1, 2011 on-the-road Newsletter, these notes taken in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, USA
CROW ON A TELEPHONE POLE
Early Thursday morning I stepped from the bus station in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, heard a nasal CAWR!, looked across the street, and saw atop a telephone pole a solid black crow quizzically looking down at me, shown below:
I'd heard that nasal CAWR! before. Sometimes juvenile American Crows make similar calls, but this wasn't one of those. This was a Fish Crow, CORVUS OSSIFRAGUS, native mostly to the US Deep South. One difference between it and the much more widely distributed American Crow is that Fish Crows, at 15 inches long (38cm), are smaller than American Crows, which average about 17.5 inches (44.5cm). The difference in size is especially apparent when the bird flies -- a bit more quick and jaunty than American Crows.
Fish Crows are enlarging their distribution inland and northward, helped along by their adaptability and omnivorousness, which enable them to exploit urban habitats.
from the November 4, 2001 Newsletter issued from the woods near Natchez, Mississippi, USA
31 FISH CROWS ON A TELEPHONE POLE
One highlight of the ride was seeing a flock of 31 Fish Crows circling far overhead, drifting as a body toward the Mississippi. Here we have both Common Crows and Fish Crows, and they are hard to tell apart just by looking. Fish Crows are a bit smaller, but the main difference is that Common Crows "caw" while Fish Crows make a sort of nasal honk. The problem is that immature Common Crows occasionally sound a lot like Fish Crows. But today these 31 crows were all honking.