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Crow

common, base, family, corvus and bill

CROW. The crow family (Corvide), order Passeres, comprises birds that have a strong bill, compressed toward the points, and covered at the base with stiff, bristly feathers, which advance so far as to conceal the nostrils. The plumage is dense, soft and lustrous, generally dark, but sometimes of gay colors. They are very omnivorous, and remarkable for their in telhgence. The family, widely diffused over the world, includes the common crow, type of the Corvidcr; and the raven, the fish crow, the rook, the jay and the magpie. The common crow of North America, Corvus americanus (Audubon), is about 20 inches long, and the wings about 12 inches. It is remarkable for its gregarious and predatory habits. The bill is straight, convex and compressed. The nostrils are placed at the base of the bill, and are panta lous; the tongue short, and bifid at the tip; the toes are separated almost to the base, and the middle one is the longest; the wings sub-elon gated and acute, and the tail composed of 12 feathers. They pair in March; the old repair their nests, the ybung frame new ones; but they are such thieves that while the one is fetching materials the other must keep watch to prevent the rising fabric from being plundered by their neighbors. As soon as the nest is finished and the eggs produced (five, bluish green, with dark blotches), the male takes upon himself the care of providing for his mate, which he con tinues during the whole period of incubation. They frequent the same rookeries for years but allow no intruders into their community. 'they

are omnivorous and feed largely upon insects and small animals of all kinds, as well as on grain and seeds, whence they have sometimes been supposed injurious to the farmer; but they amply repay him for what they take by destroy ing the vermin in his fields. The fish crow (Corvus ossifragus) is a closely similar but somewhat smaller species, chiefly maritime in the eastern United States, but found for a con siderable distance along river valleys. Less social than the common crow, it often associates with that bird, so that it is very commonly over looked. In India there is a hooded crow, alsd of the genus Corvus.

the name of cer tain American birds of the genus Quiscalus, family !derider or hang-nests. The great crow blackbird, or grackle, Q. major, found in the Southern States, Mexico and the West Indies, is 16 inches long, and of a glossy black plumage. The female is of a light brown above and whitish beneath. Thepurple grackle, lesser or common crow-blackbird, Q. gusscula, is similar in color to the preceding, but smaller. They reach the Middle States of the United States from the South in flocks in the latter part of March, and build in April in swamp-bushes and trees. In their first arrival they feed upon in sects, but afterward commit great ravages upon the corn. In November they fly south again.