As regular CFZ-watchers will know, for some time Corinna has been doing a column for Animals & Men and a regular segment on On The Track... particularly about out-of-place birds and rare vagrants. There seem to be more and more bird stories from all over the world hitting the news these days so, to make room for them all - and to give them all equal and worthy coverage - she has set up this new blog to cover all things feathery and Fortean.

Sunday, 28 July 2019

Crows of a different feather, fish crows, are coming to Houston

Gary Clark July 18, 2019

Fish crows look like an American crow but have a different call and flight pattern. Fish crows are common in the Beaumont-Port Arthur-Orange area and are moving into the Houston area.

Crows, those bulky black birds with the big beak and raucous call, don’t usually pique our curiosity unless we notice something unusual about them.

We might even overlook their kinship to the more colorful blue jays — both are in the Corvidae bird family. Crows got left with black plumes after jays picked up the blue ones.

The crows we normally see around Houston are called American crow, and they utter a loud, grating call, caw-caw-caw. They fly on broad wings vigorously beating the air in level flight and rarely take a moment to soar.

But you may have noticed crows that seemed somehow different.

They probably wouldn’t have been ravens because even a single raven would be extremely rare in our area. In Houston, it’s best to call raven-looking birds crows.

But you might have seen fish crows. These have been relatively common in the Golden Triangle of Beaumont-Port Arthur-Orange — but not in the Houston area until the last few years.

People first began telling me about fish crows in Roman Forest in East Montgomery County about 10 years ago. Then they would tell me they’d seen the birds in the Lake Houston area. I have heard the birds calling several times at Jesse H. Jones County Park in Humble.

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