Friday, August 17, 2012

Torresian Crow Corvus orru

A Torresian Crow on my front lawn.
In Tenterfield there appears to be only one family of Torresian Crows numbering about 15 individuals in total as of December 2011 to February 2012. These birds do not breed in large numbers, and only appear to have one hatchling every few years.

Some of their offspring have been deformed but that is possibly due to interbreeding. One of the local Torresian Crows has developed a human like cough but apart from that appears to be healthy.

The local Torresian Crows are mostly carnivors but will eat fruit, nuts and any human food left out. They are spotted frequently raiding rubbish bins for food, if the rubbish bins are not sealed properly on a Tuesday and Thursday morning. They also seem to enjoy playing and/or ripping up junk mail and newspapers that are delivered here in town.

The Torresian Crows of Tenterfield can be spotted just about everywhere in Tenterfield, including Rouse Street. They have been spotted sitting on the actual street light posts at the intersection of Manners and Rouse Streets, amongst other areas in town. They are also known to follow certain humans into town and back again, if that human walks into town from their home to do grocery shopping. That has happened to me more than once.

These birds are ruthless at getting food, especially human food. They are not well liked in Tenterfield by humans and are considered to be a nuisance. If any humans feed the bird life in Tenterfield, the Torresian Crows will always show up hoping to snatch food from the other birds. There is very little that these crows don't eat. If there is an excess of human food available, especially in Summer, Torresian Crows in Tenterfield have the habit of burying food nearby. This behaviour has been observed on many ocassions several years ago. However, the Torresian Crows seem to forget where they buried their food.

The local birds are intelligent but very slow learners. They respond to humans pointing at food - this I believe is a learned behaviour - and their reactions are quick and precise.

However, one behaviour of the Torresian Crows I have noticed over the years is if human food is available, and there are Australian Magpies also at the scene, the Torresian Crows will attack the Australian Magpies by pecking at their backs to scare them away from the food.


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