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Seeing large numbers of crows is no 'caws' for alarm. Ok so this little pun is intended but after feeding crows in my front and back yard all summer and into this winter, I decided to do a little research on them. I have found that: Huge flocks of noisy crows in urban areas may alarm Hoosiers accustomed to spotting these big black birds feeding or nesting in small family groups.

But wildlife biologists say big crow flocks are a natural cold-weather phenomena. "Crows tend to flock in larger numbers in the winter months for warmth and protection, especially in the morning and evening hours," said DNR biologist John Castrale. By gathering together, crows find safety in numbers. Crow predators include:

great-horned owls, red-tailed hawks, coyotes, fox and raccoons. Crows use a cooperative defense behavior known as mobbing. If one crow detects a predator, it gives an "assembly" call. Every crow within earshot will quickly fly to the source and attack the predator. If a crow has already been attacked, it gives a "distress" call summoning fellow crows to its defense.

A gathering of crows is known as a "murder." The term is based on a false folk tale that crows formed tribunals to judge and punish the bad behavior of a member of the flock. If the verdict went against the defendant, that bird was killed by the flock. Crows naturally disperse into small family units before spring nesting. Starlings, a smaller black bird, also gather in large groups during winter months and also naturally disperse in late winter. There you have what I have learned. I did find out that there is a crow season and it's still in. It is legal to hunt crows. Crow season came in last year on July 1, 2001 and went through August 15, 2001 and then came in again December 13, 2001 and will go out again March 1, 2002. Ok, what do you do with a crow once you have killed it? Eat it? I'm not sure if I would want to eat a crow or not. I have 'eaten crow' in the past but that is only a figure of speech not actually consuming the baked, boiled, broasted, fried body of an actual crow.

Crow feathers are nice to look at, stick in a head band to play Indian, and I guess you could do other project things with them. Pheasant on the other hand have beautiful feathers that are in demand by fly tyers. By the way, pheasant season went out January 15. Rabbit, raccoon, opossum, and squirrel (South of U.S. 40) seasons will go out January 31, 2002. Your 2001 hunting license should still be valid from January 1, 2001 through February 28, 2002.

With this recipe for crow, I'll close; see you in the woods and on the water.

CROW BREASTS AND SAUERKRAUT or CROW CASSEROLE

Select only young birds, the older ones are tough. Birds with brittle leg bones are old. Clean (skin) the birds (breasts) and remove the oil gland found at the base of its tail. Soak overnight in salt water, drain, and soak it again for a few hours in salt water with a cup of vinegar. Some cooks parboil the crows for half an hour before the final cooking.

Half dozen crow breasts or whole skinned / cleaned crows.

1 quart sauerkraut half-dozen strips of bacon

1/3 cup chopped onion

 

Skillet brown the crow or crow breasts, then place them on a 1 1/2 inch layer of sauerkraut in the bottom of a casserole. Cover each piece of meat with a strip of bacon and sprinkle the onions over them. Cover the breast/crows with another layer of sauerkraut and pour sauerkraut juice over it. Bake two hours in oven heated to 350 degrees. Enjoy.

(Recipe taken from The Field & Stream Guide To Sportsman's Cooking – written by George Laycock – Pub. By Holt, Rinehart and Winston, INC - 1967.


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