Monday, June 30, 2014

A Maine Gazetteer: jays and crows

In many ways jays and crows are my favorites. They are extensive in range, and high in intellect. Not surprisingly, they belong to the same family, along with the magpie (of course). They are social birds with loud mouths who are, as Sibley says, "mob predators." When a group of crows sets up their hollering, you can safely bet that some owl or fisher is being harassed. I've witnessed this: several times the congregation has sung in the trees near the house and a couple of minutes later I see a devil of a fox slinking and skulking down the shore, found out again. Sibley heads the pertinent section of his book "Jays, Crows and Their Allies," which seems especially appropriate in their bruising war of words against the flesh-eaters.

The range of the crow covers the entire US except for the deserts of the southwest (very sensible creature). It really should be the national bird. It's intelligent, articulate, sociable, courageous, common and adaptable. It's a democrat. Who cares about some soaring, warlike, endangered and unreachable eagle, however magnificent?

Excerpted from Saving Maine: A Personal Gazetteer
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