Noticeably smaller than a Raven, the Carrion Crow is a similar size to the Rook - a species with which it is often confused. As well as having a heavier black bill, the Carrion Crow lacks the shaggy thighs of the Rook and has a different head shape.
The typical Carrion Crow call is a resonant 'kraa', stronger than the rather flat-sounding call of the Rook. Crows are usually seen singly or in small groups, while Rooks are more sociable birds.
Carrion Crows are opportunist feeders and have a wide and varied diet. Because they may take gamebird eggs and chicks, they have been targeted by gamekeepers. Similarly, sheep farmers sometimes control thse crows because of the perception that they kill young lambs. However, insects and other invertebrates are the main prey in summer, with carrion and other scavenged food an important addition during the breeding season. Grain becomes important in the autumn and winter.
The predation of eggs and young chicks tends to be highly seasonal, with the crows seeking to satisfy the needs of their own growing brood. Since these crows only produce a single brood of chicks each year, their impact as predators is restricted.
Unlike Rooks, Carrion Crows are solitary nesters, maintaining a large breeding territory centred on the nest. However, crows from neighbouring territories may work together to see off intruders or potential predators.
Migration blog (3rd – 9th September)
With the first days of Autumn upon us and the breeding season over for many species, the focus is now on preparing for the coming winter months.
Counting birds and the Wetland Bird Survey (Wednesday 22 September, 10am)
This course involves one online session of about 1 hour 45 minutes, with a trainer:participant ratio of about 1:30. Participants' microphones are muted during the presentations but there is a large interactive component...