Nature Study: Crows

I love it when a nature study comes to us, rather than when we have to go looking for it. (Mostly because I have slacked big-time this year in planning for studies!)

We came home one day last week to find this garden snake in our driveway, being attacked by crows. We actually like snakes around here, so I stopped the car to get a better look and make sure I didn’t run over him. He was still crawling, and I thought the crows had just found him, so I was going to move him to safety. But then I saw bloody marks on his head and noticed he had a chunk missing on one side, so I knew he wasn’t going to make it. I decided to leave him to the crows, figuring they’d finish him off pretty quickly and put him out of any misery he might have been in.


Kathryn was mad. Like I said, we appreciate snakes, and this one is a good one to have around. (It would’ve been a different story if it was a poisonous copperhead.) It’s one thing to see how nature works when you’re watching a National Geographic show on lions in Africa; it’s quite another thing to see it right up close.

One of my twitter friends said (after I tweeted about this) that crows had eaten the baby robins from a nest at her house last year. A few days after this, I saw a crow flying with something pink and baby-bird-sized in its mouth, and then landed in a tree to eat whatever it was. I told Kathryn what I’d seen, and that prompted her to get out the Handbook of Nature Study and find the section on crows. I read the section aloud, and Kathryn’s crow-hating thoughts quickly turned to wishing she could have one as a pet when she learned how intelligent they are — and that the nest-raiding habit is apparently not the case with all crows. I told her it’s probably like man-eating lions: very seldom does that ever happen, but if a lion ever learns how much easier it is to eat a human than a fast-running, hard-kicking zebra, for instance, then they’ll prefer to hunt humans. Once a crow learns what easy fare the bird nest buffet is, I’m guessing they probably keep that habit going.

Outdoor Hour Nature StudyAfter we’d read and talked about crows, I remembered that I have a whole bunch of bird notebooking pages, so Kathryn and I each chose the one we wanted and printed those off to fill in and put in our nature journals. I’m trying to do nature journal entries as well, to help encourage her to do so.

Barb’s Outdoor Hour Challenge #6 has great ideas for studying birds. (Of course! Barb always has great nature study ideas!)

It’s slow getting back into regular nature studies, but I’m encouraged that even when we don’t do a “formal” study, we’re almost always studying some plant or creature that sometimes literally crosses our path.