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Hooded Crow

November 14, 2015
Hooded crow in Israel, (c) MMD

Hooded crow in Israel, (c) MMD

Hooded Crow Two

Hooded crows (Corvus cornix) are, like most members of the corvid family, highly intelligent and adaptable. They’re also quite beautiful, with their gray and black plumage!

I’m in Israel right now, in a suburb just north of Tel Aviv. This hooded crow took advantage of the pool I’m sitting near to dunk a roll that he found into the water, in order to soften it up and make it easier to eat — smart bird! I’ve been sitting here listening to their calls for a while now — they sound quite similar to American crows, one of my favorite city residents back home. These guys live in much of Europe and also in parts of the Middle East. Apparently, at least in Britain they are traditionally thought to be “harbingers of danger,” not dissimilar to some thinking about crows and ravens back home (although obviously some stories about corvids are quite positive; for example, ravens are considered tricksters in some Pacific Northwest societies. In one famous story, Raven steals all of the light in the universe from an old man who was keeping it locked away in a box. Once Raven flies off with it, the ball of light he stole was transformed into the sun, the stars, and the moon, forever changing the world).

Israel is home to a wide variety of birds, both residents and migratory. The diversity is really quite immense, in part because the country is at the crossroads of three continents and in the path of a major migratory flyway. If you’re a birder, it’s well worth the trip!

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