|Photo by Patrick Wilken|
Y'see, sir, it was eating something on the road and my daughter was admonishing me to slow down so as not to run it over and I was opining that crows are so smart they know to get out of the way of cars, while squirrels, for example, well, you'd best slow down and give a squirrel time to dither--and so we paid more attention to the crow's well-timed lift-off than to that sign. (I also would have liked to mention in my defense that my daughter is usually quite prompt to point out any error I might even be considering. There is, perhaps, no one outside of a driving instructor who is more willing to correct your vehicular transgressions than a teenager in the passenger seat.)
But back to the crows. They are the hooligans of neighborhood birds. They're brash, they talk too loud, and they swagger when they walk. They're not your typical songbirds--but songbirds they are. Crows use over twenty calls to relay information to one another. A crow who discovers an intact dead animal too large to break into on its own, for example, may summon reinforcements to help open up the carcass.
And each crow appears to have its own personal call that distinguishes it among its family. Incredibly, a bird separated from its mate may mimic the other's unique sounds, as if calling it home by "name."
These birds are so smart, in fact, that you'll never see a crow getting a $490 ticket for turning left in a no-turn lane.