Site of crow survey: Bermuda

The islands of Bermuda have been chosen as the location for our study into the lives of the American crow.

There are several reasons for this choice, including, the islands hold a resident population of these birds that are relatively, or completely, indigenous. As the islands cover approximately 22 square miles, this offers an opportunity to closely study a single corvid species that is undisturbed by other corvid species. Given the reports of complex cognition in these species, this isolation may yield illuminating results.

Another reason for the choice of location is that there is a well established body of bird-watchers on Bermuda with a well established communication network that may help to facilitate the collection population and behavioural data. Indeed, we already have the active co-operation of many bird-watchers and the research is endorsed and supported by the Bermuda Audubon Society.

As well as these features, which distinguish the population of Bermudian American crows from other populations of this species, the Bermudian American crow shares features in common with the American crow resident in other locations. Primary amongst these, for the purposes of our study, is the fact that the bird is both admired and hated. It is admired for its apparent intellectual abilities and its close association with humans, it is disliked or hated for its scavenging of crops. The crow, and corvids in general, also have a reputation, in some societies, as being problematic, dangerous or evil. These characteristics make the American crow in Bermuda ideal to enable the gathering of testimonies from people living their about their experiences of crows, the stories they have heard and the myths of which they are aware.

This study is in two parts and together it will seek, over an 18 month period, to gather information about American crows' - population statistics, behaviour and stories and accounts about these birds.

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© 2015 Paul Hackett