Fish Crows

Endemic to the Coastal Plain of the eastern U.S., from Texas to New England, fish crows are smaller than their inland cousins and commonly forage on beaches, willing to consume anything edible that washes ashore. Nevertheless, they, like other crows, are omnivorous and feast on a wide variety of natural foods, including eggs, fruit, insects, waste grain and carrion.

Aside from their preferred habitat, fish crows are best identified by their distinctive call, a two note "unh-unh," with the first note higher pitched than the second. In addition, unlike their garrulous cousins, these crows are usually seen alone or in pairs; mated couples place their nest high in a tree that borders the coast, a large stream or a wetland and the male feeds his partner while she incubates the eggs.

Expanding their range in recent decades, fish crows are now found far from the shore but still favor moist bottomlands that characterize major river floodplains. Wherever we might encounter these birds, their distinctive voice will always remind some of us of southern beaches, mangrove swamps and carefree days.