Some time ago I wrote an article about Pigeons. These birds can be encountered almost everywhere, both in large urban areas and in the wilderness. Now I decided it’s time to write about another type of common birds, namely the crows. Who hasn’t met a crow yet? Who hasn’t heard its screams, which might sometimes be pretty disturbing especially when a high count of them gathers in the area. Well, no matter what some folks say I find them fascinating. Why? I’ll explain in the next sections.
But first let me present a few general facts about crows. These birds are part of the Corvidae family which also includes: raven, magpie, jay, nutcracker and the western jackdaw. I’ve seen and photographed all of these but raven. Hopefully one day I’ll meet one too, who knows? Actually the raven is not only one of the most intelligent birds but also one of the most gifted beings. If I’m not mistaken it’s on the third place regarding intelligence, after humans and dolphins. Ravens can also be taught to count to thirty! The intelligence has been somehow transmitted to the whole family and the crows are no exception from this rule.
So far I’ve encountered two species: the hooded crow (corvus cornix) which displays a mixture of black and grey colored feathers and the rook (corvus frugilegus) which is entirely black. There are also others like the carrion crow (corvus corone) but I don’t recall seeing them so far.
Crows are omnivorous birds. They consume meat, fruit, seeds and basically every type of food humans dispose when no longer needed. They are also scavengers. If they see the corpse of an animal they won’t hesitate to rip parts of it if they are hungry (and they usually are!). They might even hunt small animals.
In the below picture you can see how a crow clearly expresses its intention to eat a seagull. Well, and the gull hasn’t even died yet! Actually there is a noticeable rivalry between crows and gulls which is mostly visible in spring and autumn. In many situations they attempt to destroy each other’s nests and eggs.
So what do I find so fascinating about crows?
First is their intelligence. One example that shows it is when they pick fallen nuts in autumn. Instead of cracking the shell with the beak they often prefer to grab the fruit with their claws, fly high and let it fall on the ground. Once it breaks they consume its content. I find this incredibly clever and ingenious!
Second, their flight can be unbelievably graceful. This can be noticed when observing them for a longer time and taking many photos. After watching some of the pictures taken in the last years I couldn’t believe my eyes and asked myself: what kind of bird is this? Looks more like an eagle to me! As an example see the below two photos.
Also, if you are patient enough (and in the right place) you can take incredible portraits with crows. See for example the below photos.
Both the hooded crow and rook exist in large numbers in urban areas. In Bucharest for example I’ve seen one day a huge number from both types on a field. There were hundreds of them there, an entire battalion! It’s another sign of intelligence how they manage to gather in such high numbers in an area and suddenly all fly away in search for food or other resting places. This happens mostly in autumn or early winter.
Last but not least similar to pigeons and seagulls crows are “golden material” for a beginner in birds photography. On the one hand they exist in high counts and can be met basically everywhere. You don’t need to travel to specific places or wait many hours to get a good shot. Meeting them often also means you have the chance to learn more about their behavior and get even better and better results. On the other hand they are pretty docile and don’t get easily scared (well, actually they get scared somehow easier than pigeons but it’s still manageable from photographic point of view) which means you can get reasonably close to them and with a good telephoto lens take incredible shots. For most of the pictures included in this post I used my 70-300 mm Tamron lens. Also their flight is pretty predictable which is also a good advantage for a beginner.
But no matter if you are beginner or expert it is still worth photographing crows, at least as an exercise for other types you might find more interesting. After all before running to a marathon you still train yourself by running a shorter distance, don’t you? For me all birds are interesting and every one of them deserves at least a few good shots. This includes both the most common ones and the subjects I might encounter once in a lifetime.
And if you’re not a photographer? It is still worth observing them. You might even learn useful things from these beings.
Ok, this concludes it. I’ll let you now enjoy the remaining photos that are displayed below. Hope you found this post interesting and (why not?) useful.
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