Someone once suggested that if humans were given feathers and wings, very few would be as clever as crows. These are wary, intelligent birds capable of solving simple problems, which makes them excel at self-preservation. In fall, when their reproductive duties are completed, American Crows group together in flocks of thousands. A flock of crows is called a 'murder'-a term that is understandable for those who have seen Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds-but the aggregation is merely a get-together in preparation for an evening flight to the roost. Corvus brachyrhynchos, despite sounding cumbersome, is Latin for 'raven with the small nose.'
I.D.: Sexes similar: all-black body; fan-shaped tail; black bill and legs; slim, sleek head and throat.
Size: L 17-21 in. (43-53 cm);
W 37 in. (94 cm).
Range: uncommon to common migrant and breeder in most of the Rockies; common winter resident in the U.S. Rockies.
Habitat: urban areas, agricultural fields and shrublands in the foothills and the montane.
Nesting: in coniferous or deciduous trees and on power poles; large stick and branch nest is lined with fur and soft plant materials; female incubates 4-6 eggs for up to 18 days.
Feeding: very opportunistic; feeds on carrion, small vertebrates, other birds' eggs and nestlings, berries, seeds, invertebrates and human garbage.
Voice: distinctive, far-carrying, repetitive caw-caw-caw.
Similar Species: Common Raven: larger; wedge-shaped tail; shaggy throat.