This bird is a crow.
That much we know.
But is it a friend?
Or is it a foe?
Most farmers especially those who grow corn think of the crow as a foe, or enemy. They do not like crows because crows eat newly planted seeds. There are not as many crows now as there used to be. At one time in the spring right after the seeds had been planted many a peaceful country field turned into a battlefield.
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The farmers were on one side. And the crows in flocks of 100 to more than 1,000 were on the other side. For many years neither the crows nor the farmers ever really won these battles.
It was hard for farmers to get close enough to the crows to shoot them. Crows are among the smartest birds in the world with extra keen sight and hearing. And crows are very careful. While some crows are digging up seeds in farmer’s field, the other sit on the tops of the tallest trees all around the field.
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Caw-caw-caw shrieks the first crow that sees the farmer coming. All the other lookout crows shriek caw-caw-caw too. Then all the crows in the trees and in the field fly away. Some farmers tried to fool the crows with scarecrows. Old clothes stuffed with straw were put in the fields. The farmers hoped the crows would think the scarecrows were real people. But the scarecrows didn’t seem to scare many crows away.
Some of the scientists who study birds think that it’s a good thing that all the crows have not been killed. They say these birds are our friends because they eat many insects that can harm or totally ruin farm crops. These scientist says that crows pay for the seeds they eat by killing such pests as grubs, grasshoppers and cutworms. Another good thing about crows is that they are easily tamed. They make good pets. Because of their keen eyes and ears, crows quickly learn the look and sounds of their owners. Crows can even be taught to say words.
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Crows are used to describe many things. When a boy goes home”as the crow flies,” he is talking the shortest and fastest way from here to there. He is cutting across the field instead of walking along the curvy road. Tiny wrinkles at the outer corners of person’s eyes are called crow’s feet. But they look more like crow’s footprints.
A small, sheltered platform, close to the top of the mast on a sailing ship, is called a crow’s nest. This is where the lookout stays. His platform is called a crow’s nest because it is very high up, just as a real crow’s nest is.