A joke about Crows:
A City Crow, a Country Crow, and a Beach Crow walk into a bar. The City Crow say, CAW! The Country Crow says, CAW! The Beach Crow says, CAW!
Then, a man walks into the bar. The City Crow stays put, while the Country Crow flees. The man yells, “GIT!” at the two remaining Crows. The City Crow stays put, and the Beach Crow flies 10 feet away from the man and says, “YOU GIT! This is a CROW BAR!”
Recently, on a family trip, I took some time to myself to bird a public beach. I immediately noticed a Crow perched on the sand fence.
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Caw-caw-caw it would go every few seconds. Another beachgoer, about 20 feet away, did not appreciate its presence.
There were plenty of gulls patrolling large swaths of beach blankets, hoping for a hand-out (there’s always that ONE tourist that feeds the gulls, don’t be that tourist), but the man didn’t react the same way to the gulls. He wasn’t shouting at them.
I wondered if the beachgoer would have acted the same way if the crow was a Cardinal — my guess is, no.
A City Crow
The behavior that the annoyed beachgoer exhibited and the Crow’s response reminded me of something I read in “In the Company of Crows and Ravens“. It was about how aggressive Crows (for example, those unrelenting in their pursuit of food in relation to human occupied habitat) behave vs. how cautious Crows behave (those that are timid and wary of people) and what triggers these different behaviors.
Crows that are more bold in their behaviors can be found in more densely human populated areas, such as cities and the suburbs. These Crows learn that city dwellers aren’t as likely to persecute them, so they are more visible.
Their wary counterparts can be found in rural areas with less human population density. In these areas, Crows tend to be persecuted because they are more likely to be seen as pests.
A Country Crow
The annoyed beachgoer struck me as an individual from less densely populated area, he saw the Crow as pest, which they are often seen as in rural areas. This is because they are perceived as being a threat to agricultural activities. It’s worth mentioning here that Crow hunting is legal.
The beachgoers that ignored the Crow and accepted it as part of the scenery, might have been people that were accustomed to Crows and they ignored it, and the Crow did not seem concerned about their presence.
A Beach Crow
The Beach Crow, reacted differently to these two types of beachgoers. As the annoyed beachgoer shouted “GIT!” and waved his arms at the bird, it maintained an intentional distance — it was wary of him.
The Crow was not wary of other beachgoers, like me for example. It allowed me to snap several photos and even perched on a post by my beach blanket.
The Beach Crow reacted differently to both types of beachgoers (the one that was annoyed and the others that didn’t pay attention). I thought that this was very interesting considering how City Crows behave vs. Country Crows. This Crow seemed to fall somewhere in between because it was able to navigate and interpret people’s intentions, and adjust its own behaviors based on them.
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