Sunday, January 29, 2012

Cawing all Crows

Everyone respects the intelligence and resourcefulness of a crow.  Some people just don't know it yet.  It is not their fault; they just didn't understand the mystique of the bird, until now.

 In an effort to enhance the American Crows' standing in Mansfield, Gorman Nature Center and Greater Mohican Audubon dreamed up an educational experience to banish all the ignorance surrounding crows.

          The first sampling of 45 Richland County folks to be inoculated with "crow love." 

Steve McKee offered a program about the winter roosting habits of our American Crows, starting with their collective name.  A group of crows is called a "murder".  How cool is that?  Mansfield is one of the mid-sized cities to be blessed with a mega-murder winter roost in Ohio.  This year it was estimated to number 30,000+ crows.

Why do crows roost together in the winter?  For protection and security, perhaps even for heat.  Urban areas offer a bit of ambient light and warmth. Crows gather at night, wary against their main predator- the Great Horned Owl.  To learn much more about crows, click on this Cornell "crowfacts" link which is filled with fabulous information.

 After the program, Steve lead the attendees out into Mansfield for a wild car chase- in search of crows! Irene is smiling just to have survived long enough to tell the tale!

The crow-active crowd gathers on the street.  Passers-by ask, "What's the excitement about?"


The wing beats and cawing of a thousand crows is a breath-taking sight.  The bats in Texas or Sandhill Cranes in Bosque del Apache have nothing on our Mansfield Murder.

Jan Ferrel and the JNATS (Junior Naturalists) are all over it!

As the birds settle in for the night, we mid-Ohioans counted ourselves lucky and rich in crows.

And what is the "plus" of a winter crow roost?  Besides the sight of a natural history wonder, and the resonating "coos" of a late night roost, crows do great community service.  They are the ultimate recyclers.  When the Turkey Vultures take off for the winter to seek more temperate climes, the crows remain.

Who removes the dead 'possums from the roads?  Crows do.  Who eats thousands of rodents and snakes? Crows do.  And if you stop to wonder what our world would look like with no "recyclers"  to do our dirty work, consider the crow.  And you will become a fan too.

Maybe they need a Facebook page.

1 comment:

  1. That was too much fun. Check out this video a friend who lives in Woodland took on Saturday.