Birds of Seabrook Island

COAST BIRDS
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  Fish Crow
 
 

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  Order Passeriformes
   Suborder Passeres - Oscines (Song Birds)
      Parvorder Corvida (Superfamily Corvoidea)
            Family Corvidae - Crows and Jays
  Passerines are generally smaller than non-passerines. They have a perching foot with three toes directed forward and the one backward with locking tendons to facilitate perching when their tendons are flexed. All passerines scratch by bringing the foot over the wing. Incubation ranges from 11 -21 days. Young hatch blind with little or no down and spend 10-15 days or so in the nest - development is rapid and parents provide care beyond fledging.
Oscines are passerines with complex syringeal musculature used to produce varied vocalizations. 
Corvida (Corvoidea) includes a group of older endemics originating in Australia and New Guinea.
Corvids are intelligent, social birds. They are larger passerines found in woodlands and open areas. Adults are noisy and aggressive with distinctive calls.
Crows and Ravens  (Corvus). Intelligent birds, they are adaptable to human modifications to the habitat. These are mostly black birds and most are fairly large (the Common Raven is the largest passerine bird). They are widespread, including some mid-ocean islands, but they are absent from South America.
     
     
  Fish Crow, Corvus ossifragus
 
    Cornell     USGS     Wiki     EoL
        YEAR ROUND - Common (fewer in winter), breeds / Common
            OPEN AREAS (bays, inlets, lagoons, swamps),
                WOODLAND (cypress swamps, major watercourses), URBAN AREAS
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   The Fish Crow is less massive than the American Crow (280 vs. 450g) and has a more butterfly-like flight. It is present all year but on Seabrook appears to be more abundant inland and large groups may migrate southward in the fall. Fish Crows stay near the ocean or fresh-water watersheds in eastern North America but may penetrate well inland.
   You will need to learn its nasal call to distinguish it from the "real" crow...
Fish Crow
     
Fish Crow. Palmetto Lake
   
  RANGE: Fish Crows range from southern New England along the Atlantic coast couth through Florida and west to eastern Texas. In summer, they move inland along the major river systems to reach Illinois along the Mississippi, central Pennsylvania along the Susquehanna, upper parts of Georgia and South Carolina along the Savannah, etc. They winter within the US.
   Fish Crows appear to migrate in larger flocks during fall days. Watch (listen) for them inland, west of the Inland Waterway.
  BREEDING: Monogamous. One brood. Fish Crows build a nest high in a coniferous (or deciduous) tree using sticks and twigs and add a lining of bark, needles, grass, and feathers. They lay 4-5 eggs which both sexes incubate for 16-18 days. Development is altricial and both parents care for the young. Young probably leave the nest when they are 3-4 weeks old.
   They may breed in loose colonies containing a few pairs. 
  DIET: They are omnivorous, scavenging and harvesting seasonal food in their environment. They may cause serious damage to wader rookeries where they prey on eggs in unattended nests. They have also learned to break mollusk shells by dropping them onto rocks or hard surfaces. They usually forage in flocks - usually walking along shores, in shallow water, also in fields.
  VOICE: Fish Crows utter a short, metallic, very nasal "cawh." They also have a throaty rattle.
  NOTES
   Checklists -
      Seabrook (probably breeds). Kiawah - common year round (breeds). Edisto - resident.
      Coastal - common permanent resident. Hilton Head - common permanent resident. Cape Romain - common year-round, breeds.
         Huntington Beach - common, year-round.
      Caw Caw - fairly common/fairly common/common/common. ACE - common year-round, breeds.
   CBC: ACE 95, 363, 66, 45, 41895, 551, 9796, 406; Charleston 48, 48, 39, 13, 7, 10, 2, 27;
            St Helena/Fripp x, x, x, x, x, x, 10, 10; Hilton Head 654, 135, 79, 76, 135, 114, 533, 36; Sun City/Okatie 45, 109, 0, 300, 49, 242, 98, 309;
            McClellanville 4, 20, 12, 9, nc, 45, 180, 96; Winyah Bay x, x, 371, 97, 1, 40, 188, 11; Litchfield/Pawley's 21, 19, 165, 183, 124, 60, 33, 79.
      Unidentified crow sp.: Hilton Head 12, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0; Sun City/Okatie 3, 1, 50, 11, 28, 0, 9, 25;
            McClellanville 50, 0, 0, 0, nc, 0, 0, 0; Winyah Bay x, x, 0, 2, 0, 6, , 00; Litchfield/Pawleys 2, 45, 16, 315, 84, 19, 35, 52.
   SCBBA: All coastal counties and throughout the state into the piedmont.
   P&G: Common breeder, abundant in fall and common in winter. Fish Crows have increased  in the upper coastal plain and piedmont since 1950 and were nesting in north-western South Carolina by 1984. Egg dates: 19 March - 24 May.
 
  Avendex: 3 records. 45,000 - 60,000, Charleston, November 13-17, 1985; 50,000, Savannah Spoil area, January 8, 1992.
   Potter: Common permanent resident. Populations have been expanding inland through the piedmont in recent years.
  ●  Fish Crows are common on Seabrook in open areas. They may be heard around the salt marsh and estuaries but I haven't seen them actually on the beach. Kaufman suggests that they forage in salt marshes and on tidal flats and scavenge on the beach. I've not seen them doing this on Seabrook - the crow seen on our beaches appears to always be the American Crow...(but note that you really have to hear them to be sure). Watch for their "lighter" flight.
   In the fall, watch for large diurnal migrations inland along the coast. Fewer are found here in the winter.
       
    Banner - Fish Crow. Palmetto Lake.
       
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