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Crow-General Information

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Crow-General Information
See also   Birds in Hindu Scriptures

Food Habits - The crows appeared to have the most diverse diet of all, taking anthropogenic foods such as bread, spaghetti, fried potatoes, dog food, sandwiches, and livestock feed. Some crows also eat many agricultural pests including cutworms, wireworms, grasshoppers, and harmful weeds. The increase in available anthropogenic food sources is contributing to population increase in some corvid species. Crows have been known to attack dogs, cats, ravens, and birds of prey. Most of the time these assaults take place as a distraction long enough to allow an opportunity for stealing food.

Reproduction - They do not unite in open - special to crow. Males and females build large nests together in trees or on ledges. The male will also feed the female during incubation. The nests are constructed of a mass of bulky twigs lined with grass and bark. Corvids can lay between 3 and 10 eggs, typically ranging between 4 and 7. The eggs are usually greenish in color with brown blotches. Once hatched, the young remain in the nests for up to 610 weeks depending on the species. Mate selection is quite complex and accompanied with much social play in the Corvidae. Youngsters of social corvid species undergo a series of tests, including aerobatic feats, before being accepted as a mate by the opposite sex.

Feeding the Crow - Normally people ensure that a small quantity of food, Rotee or rice, is offered to crow immediately on cooking. They keep the food on the compound wall in front of the house. Most times the crow will take rice immediately, but sometimes late, sometimes late evening. Sometimes crow will take one beak and fly away, keeping balance as reserve for evening or afternoon. Some times three or four crows will come, sit on electric wire or compound wall or parapet wall, wait for particular crows, they will take full as they desire, then the others will take the balance.

Relationship of a Crow's Crowing and Coming of an A-Tithi - In the past, when crows crawled on the terrace or the wall of a house, it was usual to say in the house "Somebody is coming to our house today." or "Somebody's message (letter) will be coming." 70% this used to be correct. Postmen used to deliver some letters on the day or some guests would come with out intimation. Now a day we hear crows crawl in the early morning waking us up. Afterwards they are mostly silent till evening. (other than in places where food is offered). They crawl again in the evening when they go to their nests. If a lot of crows crawl almost continuously, it means some thing has happened to one among them. They also crawl when they find good food, but it is only a limited crawling. Probably they have also changed their pattern of living. The crows like other eatables also, like cookies, biscuits, Paapad, Vadaa etc other than the Rotee and rice.

Eyes of Crow - The eyes of crow are special. They can suitably rotate to see everywhere. Since the crow can see everywhere, he is said to be very vigil. Persons who are more vigil are said to be having Crow's eyes.

Why at All Crow Has Only One Eye - See above "Indra's Son Jayant as Crow"

Darwin's theory - Crow is the Most intelligent Bird - During the 19th century there arose the belief that crows is the 'most advanced' bird, based upon the belief that Darwinian evolution brings 'progress'. In such a classification the 'most intelligent' of birds were listed last reflecting their position 'atop the pyramid'. Modern biologists some how reject the concept of hierarchical 'progress' in evolution. One Carrion Crow was documented to crack nuts by placing them on a crosswalk, letting the passing cars crack the shell, waiting for the light to turn red, and then safely retrieving the contents. A group of crows in England took turns lifting garbage bin lids while their companions collected food. Not only in England, it is seen in India too. Members of the corvid family have been known to watch other birds, remember where they hide their food, then return once the owner leaves. Corvids also move their food around between hiding places to avoid thievery, but only if they have previously been thieves themselves ie, they remember previous relevant social contexts, use their own experience of having been a thief to predict the behavior of a pilferer, and can determine the safest course to protect their caches from being pilfered. As you know that the ability to hide food requires highly accurate spatial memories.

Communication - Crows make a wide variety of calls or vocalizations. Whether the crows' system of communication constitutes a language is a topic of debate and study. Crows have also been observed to respond to calls of other species; this behavior is presumably learned because it varies regionally. Crows' vocalizations are complex and poorly understood. Some of the many vocalizations that crows make is only a "Kaanw, Kaanw", usually echoed back and forth between birds. Crows can hear sound frequencies lower than those that humans can hear, which complicate the study of their vocalizations. Loud, throaty "Kaanw-aw-ah's are usually used to indicate hunger or to mark territory. When defending a nest site or food, crows will usually enlarge their crest feathers and hunch their shoulders to increase their size. Softer, gurgling sounds have also been observed as a sort of beckoning call, or a call of affection. These noises are emitted from within the throat of the bird, much like a cat's purring. Recent research suggests that crows have the ability to recognize one individual human being from another by their facial features. (from Wikipedia)

Crows in Other Cultures and Mythologies

Crows, and especially ravens are often featured in European legends or mythology as portents or harbingers of doom or death, because of their dark plumage, unnerving calls, and tendency to eat carrion (including those of humans). They are commonly thought to circle above scenes of death such as battles.

In occult circles, distinctions are sometimes made between crows and ravens. In mythology and folklore as a whole, crows tend to be symbolic more of the spiritual aspect of death, or the transition of the spirit into the afterlife, whereas ravens tend more often to be associated with the negative (physical) aspect of death. Another reason for this distinction is that while crows are typically highly social animals, ravens don't seem to congregate in large numbers anywhere near rotten flesh where they meet seemingly by chance, or at cemeteries, where they sometimes live together in large numbers.

Crow in Greek Mythology
Why the white crow become black - In classical Greek mythology, when the crow told the god Apollo that his beloved Coronis was cheating on him with a mortal, he became very angry, and part of that anger was directed at the crow, whose feathers he turned from white to black.

Crow in Buddhism
In Buddhism, the Dharmpaal (protector of the Dharm) Mahaakaal is represented by a crow in one of his physical or earthly forms.

Dalaai Laamaa and Crow
Avalokitaevara, who is reincarnated on Earth as the Dalaai Laamaa, is often closely associated with the crow because it is said that when the first Dalai Laamaa was born, robbers attacked the family home. The parents fled and were unable to get to the infant Laamaa in time. When they returned the next morning expecting the worst, they found their home untouched, and a pair of crows was caring for the Dalaai Laamaa. It is believed that crows heralded the birth of the First, Seventh, Eighth, Twelfth and Fourteenth Laamaas, the latter being the current Dalaai Laamaa, Tenzin Gyatso.

Crow in Chinese Mythology
In Chinese mythology, the world originally had ten Suns embodied as ten crows, which rose in the sky one at a time. When all ten decided to rise at once, the effect was devastating to crops, so the gods sent their greatest archer Houyi, who shot down nine crows and spared only one. Having a "crow beak" is a symbolic expression that one is being a jinx.

Some Sayings on Crow

(1) Nature of Crow - The crow does neither show any intimacy nor any attachment even with those people who feed him. In the same way there are some people, they are not bad, but will not show any intimacy to those with whom they sit daily. Such people are often told - exhibiting Kaakyute swabhaavam (crow's nature). Besides, crow is a very cunning bird. When somebody behaves very cunningly, he is given the example of crow.

(2) Kaag Cheshtaa... - There is a Shlok about the qualities of a student as what qualities he should have to be a good student. Kaag Cheshtaa, Bako dhyaanam, Shwaan nidraa Tathaiv Cha; Alpahaaree Griham tyaagee Vidyaarthee panch lakshanam. This Shlok tells five qualities of a good student - (1) Kaag cheshtaa - a crow never sits still for long and always looks here and there, means one should be always attentive; (2) Bako dhyaanam - as an egret can stand still for long time without any movement in order to catch a fish, in the same way a student should meditate on his subject; (3) Shwaan Nidraa - as a dog sleeps very light, it is awake on a slight sound, in the same way a student's should sleep very light; (4) Alpahaaree - one should eat less; (5) Griham Tyaagee - he should leave the house, means that for the period of his study, he should not remember his home and family members as they create hindrance in study. Thus these are five qualities of good student.

(3) Crow's Color - The color of crow is mostly black. When anyone is having more black complexioned skin than usual or like a crow, he or she is referred as "Crow's complexioned".

(4) Kauaa Chalaa hans Kee Chaal aur Apanee Chaal Bhee Bhool Gayaa - People like the movements of Hans (swan), so the crow thought that he should copy his movements, and started copying him and tried to mix with swans, but people recognized him and threw him out of the flock, but then he forgot his own behavior also. It is said when somebody tries to copy somebody else and then forget his own behavior.

(5) Bathing Like Crow - Bathing like a crow means taking a hurried bath. If any body finish bath within no time, or hurriedly it is often told as "bathing like a crow".

Some Stories About Crow

(1) An Intelligent Crow - There is a story about an intelligent crow. Most we grandfathers would have told this story to our kids in the night. Once there was a crow who was very thirsty. He did not find any pond or any water body to quench his thirst. Suddenly he located a mud pitcher with some water in it. The crow tried to put its beak inside the pitcher and drink water, but water was at a very low level and his beak could not even touch the water. He thought of a way. he found some stones nearby. He brought them in its beak one by one and put them in the pitcher. Water came up. The crow drank water and flew away. There is no question in this story as - it would have called other crows and put the stones quickly, all would have drank water or the pot would have been tilted slightly etc. Crows are experts in tilting.

(2) The crow, who wanted to drink or eat Kheer - Once some Kheer was kept outside on a leaf for birds after offerings to the God, in a temple. One crow came and ate the Kheer. He felt the Kheer very tasty, so he went to a Pattee who was putting up near the temple. He told Pattee - "I want to eat Kheer. I will get all the ingredients for it, will you cook Kheer for me?" Pattee told the ingredients like rice, jaggery, coconut, and firewood for preparation. The crow brought every thing one by one. Pattee started preparing Kheer in a clay pot in the open area. The crow impatiently waited on a nearby tree. When the Kheer was boiling with Ghee, its sweet aroma entered its nose and he could not wait any more. He put its beak in to hot boiling Kheer. The beak got burnt. Pattee advised it to drink water from the nearby pond. The crow's stomach became full. The Kheer also got ready by that time, but the crow kept drinking water more and more for reducing the burning sensation of his beak, and then started peeing. The water started flowing everywhere through pee. Patty sympathizing with crow's condition, kept the Kheer preserved. The crow somehow could eat the Kheer later, smiled with his burned beak and cried with happiness - craw, craw.

(3) A Jackal and A Crow - Once a crow was getting fed with Rotee (Indian flat bread) by a kid. The crow would take a bit of it, go to a tree branch, eat it and again come back for another bite. A jackal was watching all this from below the tree branch. He was also hungry so he also desired to get Rotee. He told the crow while he was bringing Rote in his beak "Your voice is very sweet. Sing me a song?" First the crow did not pay any attention to him, but when the jackal insisted he thought he really sang well. So he started to sing. As he opened his mouth that piece of Rotee fell down and jackal comfortably ate it. The crow again went to the child and the child again gave him a bit of Rotee. When the crow came back and sat on the tree branch, the Jackal again said - "Your singing was so sweet. I still want to hear your song." The story repeated. Jackal ate that bit also. The crow once again went, got the Rotee bit. Jackal again said - "Your singing is becoming sweeter. I want to hear more."

Now the crow grew suspicious, so he kept the Rotee bit on the branch safely without falling and said to the jackal - "My singing is indeed sweet, and I will sing for you, but wait for a while. I am hungry so let me finish my Rotee then I will sing for you." and he started eating his Rotee slowly. After finishing again it went to the child again, got a bit of Rotee and started eating. The Jackal understood, that now he would not get any more bits. So he said - "Ok, I will come some other day to hear your sweet song." and went his way.



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Created by Sushma Gupta on 5/9/09
Updated on 10/03/13