American Crow

Corvus brachyrhynchos
Range Map

The American Crow is found throughout most of North America. It is similar to the Eurasian Carrion Crow, but can be separated both by range and by their vocalizations. These birds are familiar to most Americans and common in most urban, suburban and rural settings.

American Crows, when not breeding, will make their way at day’s end to communal roosts. These roosts can host hundreds, sometimes thousands of individuals. There have been reports of some roosts having millions of members.

Today, taxonomists recognise five subspecies of American Crow:

  • C. b. brachyrhynchos lives in southern Canada from the Northwest Territories east to the Canadian Maritime Provinces, and south throughout the Midwest and eastern USA to at Florida and Gulf of Mexico. They are expanding their range west through Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Utah, Colorado, Nevada and Arizona.
  • C. b. paulus lives in eastern and southeastern USA.
  • C. b. pascuus lives in Florida.
  • C. b. hesperis lives in northern British Columbia to southwestern USA and northern Baja California (Mexico).
  • C. b. caurinus was previously called the Northwestern Crow. They live along the southern Alaska coast, from Kodiak Island east to Prince William Sound, and south along the coast of British Columbia.

Most American Crows do not breed until three or four years old. Like other members of the corvid clan, the younger birds will help raise the young of their parents during the next season. These extended families can have 15-20 members.

Because I live on a hill, I get to witness these end-of-the-day movements when they lay over in the trees on my property. They create a racket, yaking it up with all their buddies and family members, before launching to their next layover, (and the next, and the next…). Who’s to know how many before they settle in for the night!

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