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Japanese Crows

Jungle Crows

When I was preparing to visit my son in Japan, I asked him what birds he saw in his town. “Mostly crows and sparrows,” he said. Not being a bird watcher, that was about all he could tell me. “Crows are everywhere,” he added.

Jungles Crows in Kamakura

When I arrived, I quickly discovered the accuracy of his statement. Crows were, indeed, everywhere. We saw–and more often heard–crows in the big city of Tokyo, as well as the small town of Obuse, and many places in-between. They serenaded us on our walks in the city, and the harsh caw of a crow was the first sign of dawn in the small town. The first crow I identified was the Jungle Crow–also know as the Large-billed Crow. Several roamed the beach at Kamakura, watching for food left by visitors. One Jungle Crow tried to steal a bag of potato chips from a woman sitting on the sand, but she grabbed it back just in time.

In other areas, we found the Carrion Crow, similar to the Jungle Crow, but with a lower profile. I first met these crows in a park in Kyoto, again most likely looking for food left by passersby. In Obuse, a small town near Nagano, I watched a Carrion Crow grooming itself in a chestnut orchard–taking a bit of a dust bath and preening, before striding confidently across the road into another orchard. Crows were almost as common as the ubiquitious Tree Sparrow–although not quite as friendly.

Carrion Crow

For more information on Japanese crows, check out Large-billed Crow.  Apparently crows are quite intelligent; those in Tokyo have learned to crack nuts in an unusual way, by dropping nuts in pedestrian crosswalks and waiting for cars to break them open. We enjoyed the crows we saw, even if their cawing did get a bit annoying at times.

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Concerning Sparrows

Concerning sparrows:
The small brown or gray birds known as sparrows can be found worldwide. True sparrows, native to Europe, Asia, and Africa, belong to the family Passeridae. They are small plump birds with short tails and short, stout beaks useful for cracking seeds. Habitat ranges from fields and open woodlands to noisy urban settings. One true sparrow, the house sparrow or English sparrow, has been introduced to North America and other areas and is now the most widespread bird in the world, so widespread it is often considered a pest.
Sparrows generally mate for life, but may not be completely faithful. They often raise 2-4 broods a year, and some species nest in colonies. Both parents feed the young until they are old enough to fend for themselves. Their diet consists mainly of seeds and insects. Sparrows may live several years, with the oldest recorded wild sparrow being a house sparrow that survived 13 years and 4 months.
American sparrows resemble true sparrows, but belong to the family Emberizidae. Members of this family may be found on every continent except Australia and Antarctica.These so-called New World sparrows resemble true, or Old World sparrows in most ways. One notable exceptions is that male New World sparrows can sing, whereas true sparrows produce only chips or alarm calls. The well-known song sparrow will not be found in the Old World. Perhaps old is not always best.

 

 

 

http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Passeridae.html

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