Most bird groups are called flocks. But groups of these creatures are poetically referred to as a murder of crows. That’s probably because of their coal-black color, their hunched stance, and their harsh call—as if they were here to announce something unwelcome.
The crow is about the best-known bird in California, or the United States, for that matter. It’s adapted to life in farmlands and urban areas. It can descend in huge flocks onto a field, or hop around individually in trees or on the ground.
If you’ve ever wondered how to tell a crow from a raven, a related large black bird also found in Monterey County, here are a few tips: The typical crow is about seventeen inches long. The raven is much bigger, about twenty-four inches long. Crows’ wings are blunt and splayed at the tip, while raven’s wings are pointed. A crow has a fan-shaped tail while a raven has a long, wedge-shaped tail. Both birds have long, heavy bills, but the crow’s is noticeably smaller than the raven’s.
And the crow’s call is a caw—
sfx: caw caw caw
—while the raven’s is a croak.
sfx: croak, croak, croak