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Hooded Crow Corvus cornix

In Holland the Hooded Crow is quite scarce. It does however overwinter along the coast in some numbers. The Frisian Islands see a case of breeding from time to time, but usually these are hybrids, not full blood Hooded Crows. The two species easily form mixed pairs and the young are capable of breeding themselves. Thus for a long time it was taken for granted the Hooded Crow and the Carrion Crow actually were one and the same species. However nowadays most scientists believe there are two separate species. The separation of the two species probably occurred in the Ice Age. In behaviour the two species hardly differ. They also sing the same way, even though the song of the Hooded Crow is slightly more musical and less annoying than that of the Carrion Crow.

The pictures were taken on the Baltic Coast. In winter Hooded Crows can be seen just about the water line, picking up whatever they consider edible. The Hooded Crows along the Baltic Coast are less shy than the Carrion Crows in Western Europe.

Crows in general are very intelligent birds. They even take advantage of human activity. In Holland they use a small ferry to open up clams. They put the clams on the street, wait for the ferry to arrive and let all cars drive off. After that they examine their clams hoping one of the cars has cracked them. In Tokio, Japan they use cars in the same way to open up a very hard variety of nut. They can't do it just like that, for cars will run them over. So they wait near a pedestrian's crossing for the pedestrian's light to turn green, before going on the street to eat the cracked nuts. And as soon as the lights for the cars turn green, they fly away.

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