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Crows are omnivores and scavengers. They eat a variety of foods including fruit, nuts, seeds and even dead animals. Crows like much of the same food as humans do and this leads to some misunderstandings between the two. Crows will often scavenge in human trash which leads some humans to label them as a nuisance, not recognizing them for the resourceful and intelligent birds that they are.
In the wild, crows will eat all sorts of insects and larvae, which vary according to season. For example, in the Spring a Crow may gorge on beetles but switch over to grasshoppers come Summer. They also eat pretty much any other prey they can capture, which would include baby birds, small mammals, reptiles and amphibians as well as eggs, nuts, berries and the like. They also feed on carrion and are smart enough not to get hit by vehicles while doing so.
Nestling crows are often fed large quantities of insect food and should be given proper credit for their help in balancing the eco-system.
Some of my friends live with me and my human, they too are unable to be released back into the wild due to the severity of their injuries. Others that are fortunate enough to be treated by the licensed wildlife rehabilitators of Messinger Woods are rehabilitated and released back into the wild.
Many injuries that wildlife sustain are due to the direct contact with humans. We are hit by cars, poisoned, shot, affected by pollution, as well as afflicted with diseases. Without the help of wildlife rehabilitators many of us would not be alive. Some of us are candidates for educational ambassadors and our goal is to help educate the public by making possible up close, one on one interaction.
There are numerous birds that regurgitate what is called a "pellet". The pellet is
a mix of non-digestible parts of their food. Bones, fur, bills, claws, teeth, seed
hulls, plant parts and insect exoskeletons are just some of the diet items a bird
may cast. The pellet is formed in a part of the body called the gizzard. Once the
pellet is formed, it moves up to the proventriculus before being expelled from the
body. Since the pellet blocks the digestive track, regurgitating pellets is normal
and the sign of a healthy bird.
Here is an example of Jimini actually caught in the act of regurgitating a pellet at an educational talk. This particular pellet contains some seed hulls, grape skins and mouse fur from his breakfast that morning.
Photo Courtesy of
of Lena Maria Photography
For an excellent synopsis and snapshot of the American Crow, check out the Audubon website’s Guide to North American Birds by clicking on the logo below: