Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Corvid cheerleader

A WashingtonPost.com article discusses the West Nile Virus's negative impact on crow populations, particularly American Crows. Some folks, including some birders I know, probably think, "OK, fewer crows, no biggie."

Some of us, though, like the intelligent black birds very much. Kevin McGowan of Cornell Lab of Ornithology is among that select group of admirers, as the article and the preceding link make clear.

Near the end of the article, McGowan says, "People tend to think of them being evil, hoodlums -- this gang of crows... But they aren't gangs -- they're families. Nobody gives them credit for their admirable family values. They stay together for a long time and help each other out."

I think not enough people give corvids credit for their intelligence, either. Who can dismiss the cognitive skills displayed by Oxford University's New Caledonian Crow, Betty? The crow created a tool repeatedly to retrieve the food at the bottom of a tube. (And she's right-handed.)

On a less significant note, I'm pleased to learn that Kevin and I share an appreciation for corvids. I had the pleasure of meeting him during the American Birding Association convention in Tucson last July. He and his son, Jay, shared a table with me and a friend on Saturday night, and I remember laughing often during the evening. It's cool to see him quoted in this article.

2 Comments:

Blogger Dr. Charles said...

a lot of connections between bird health and human health in the news, and on your blog, lately. i remember that about betty the crow. i'd vote for that kind of intelligence, you know, instead of for ...

January 26, 2006 1:22 PM  
Anonymous zeebyrd said...

I am a big fan of crows too. Its nice to see articles like the one in the Wash. Post. But, have you seen what they're doing in Lancaster, PA? Its awful!!!

http://local.lancasteronline.com/4/20332

Crows take bait
After failing twice, officials entice pesky birds to eat poison.

By Ad Crable
Lancaster New Era

Published: Jan 26, 2006 1:43 PM EST

LANCASTER COUNTY, PA - The third time was the charm for federal wildlife control agents who say they successfully poisoned some of Lancaster’s pesky crows Wednesday afternoon near East Petersburg.

--- If you're interested in joining in the support for the crows, please contact me at crowsadvocate@zeebyrd.net . There's a large group of us corvid fans who are trying to put a stop to the poisoning.

February 02, 2006 5:11 AM  

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