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How to Identify Birds: The Common Crow

The common American crow can be found living throughout almost all of the U.S. Here's how to spot it.


  • Step 1: Observe the bird's field marks Consider the bird's appearance through binoculars and compare it with the pictures in your field guide. Crows are all black, including their bills and legs. Their bills are thick and sturdy.
  • Step 2: Listen to the bird's call Pay attention to the bird's call. Adult crows typically produce a full-voiced caw.
  • TIP: There can be variations in the crow's caw. Crows can actually mimic the whine of a dog, the voice of a human, and the squawk of a hen.
  • Step 3: Observe the bird in flight Observe the bird's flight pattern. Crows exhibit a methodical flapping of their wings and do not soar like ravens do.
  • Step 4: Observe the bird's posture Consider the bird's posture. Crows perch in a manner that tends to be more horizontal than vertical.
  • FACT: The oldest recorded age of a wild American crow is 14 years and seven months.

You Will Need

  • Binoculars
  • Field guide

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