As I'm going through my Florida photos choosing what to add to my official album for my Big Half Year fundraiser, I posted one of my fish crow photos. Some of you who read this blog and are not that into birds are probably wondering, "Hey, Shaz, how can you tell that's a fish crow as opposed the American crow we see all over the US." Honestly? I can't tell them apart by sight myself, but I can by call. So I took the extra step of getting some video of the above bird so you can hear the call which is a dead give away from the American crow:
The call is pretty different. I don't know all that much about fish crows apart from knowing I'll find them when I'm along the coast in the easter US. I checked over at Birds of North America Online and my favorite section to check on bird profiles is "Priorities for Future Research." Boy howdy, though this bird is very common along the eastern coastal areas...there's a lot we don't know! And corvids are down right interesting to study.
I was especially surprised about how little we know about the fish crow repertoire. American crows have a crazy vocal repertoire beyond just the "caw" that most of us know and try to tune out. But they have various types of "caws" and they make weird maraca rattles and can mimic other species (including humans). We don't know that much about the fish crow--exactly how different are they from the American crow?
Graduate students, here's a bird to study...and you could do it some place like Florida!