How Long do Crows Live?

Crows are part of the Corvidae group of birds and are essential for the Corvus variety. These medium-sized Blackbirds, estimated around 17 inches, can be found throughout the world, pervasively found across the United States in general and portions of Canada, except for Antarctica.

For quite a while, people criticized crows because of their annoying behavior – creating noises, eating crops, and taking eggs from other birds – all gave them a bad reputation. With that, you may wonder how long do these species live?

Generally, a wild crow can live up to 7-8 years old, or even longer if environmental conditions permit. The oldest American crow in the wild is 29 years old. Moreover, crows in captivity can live much longer, reaching an incredible 59 years.

What is the Average Lifespan of Crows?

Most birds somewhat have a short life expectancy, not even living half as the human’s life. Some may live for only a couple of years, while others may live for 10 years or more. However,  crows kept in captivity have a greater possibility of a longer lifespan than those in the wild.

The life expectancy of crows generally relies upon the environment, such as the accessibility of food, nutrition, and habitat.

In The Wild

Crows in the wild have been seen to have an expectancy of 7-8 years or an average of 175 months. The oldest crow in the wild has been known to live for a record of 29 years.

In Captivity

As mentioned, crows that live in captivity have a longer lifespan than those in the wild. However, there’s still a lack of authentic records about the real age of the longest surviving crow in captivity. According to some, it is known to be 59 years of age.

Crows Through The Life Stages

Here, we will find out crows’ life stages from breeding until they become an adult.

Breeding and Nesting

When the male and female crows mate together, they will build their nests mostly in evergreen trees. Crows regularly pick the elevated, flat parts of the trees for their nests. Typically, crows start to breed and nest in late March and April.

Life Inside The Egg

When the nesting stage is finished, the female lays its eggs, normally between early May to June. The clutch normally contains 3-8 eggs, having a light green base with small, earthy colored dots.

The female crows take around 18 days to incubate the eggs. When the egg is hatched, the male crow turns out to be exceptionally territorial, shielding the home from any intruders and bringing food for its mate. However, all the eggs can go through successful incubation and hatch into chicks.

Nestling Stage

When the eggs are hatched, the chicks, normally, are pretty clumsy and weak. From then, they will slowly begin to develop. They will stay in the nest for around 28-35 days; their parents will continuously feed them food from morning until dusk.

Fledgling Stage

These chicks are about a month and a half old; they will figure out how to fly, continuously becoming proficient flyers. However, They will still need the help of their parents to achieve nourishment for a few more weeks until they become independent enough to survive.

Adult Stage

When the fledgling crows are ready to endure their first year of life and accomplish their sexual development, it will increase their chance of survival. The possibility of a longer expectancy rate for these crows increases.

Along with their development, their scavenging abilities and skills in hunting would develop as well. Thus, making them harder targets to larger predators.

Causes of Death

Although crows are regarded as one of the most intellectual birds, they still can’t get through some challenging situations that will, unfortunately, lead to death. Some factors can influence the relatively short lifespan of crows, both in the wild and the urban areas.

Here are some possible causes of a crow’s death:

1. Predators

Crows have an obvious predatory characteristic; they kill smaller bugs, birds and ardently eat them. However, these birds likewise fall on the food web of some savage and larger predators that can assault and kill them.

The fledglings and eggs of crows are more prone to be attacked by intruders, but the attacks are less successful for adult ones. Those adult crows can withstand larger predators such as horned owls, hawks, eagles, and falcons.

Most of the time, crows can escape their predators and chase them away. However, in some cases, they become the victim. Bobcats and coyotes also attack crows if they are not cautious enough.

2. Disease

Crows are known to be vulnerable to the West Nile Virus. This disease started in North America in 1999 and believed that crows are tainted with the mosquito-borne African infection.

This event has prompted the death of hundreds of crows, resulting in a 45% drop in the American crows’ population. Since crows are vulnerable to this infection, any crow that contacted it is known to die within seven days with a minimal chance of survival rates.

3. Accidents

Crows can be harmed in various ways around our homes and various areas. The most common accidents they opt to are crashing into windows or wire walls, being bitten by cats or dogs, getting hit by vehicles, and falling into chimneys.

However, the danger doesn’t only limit to accidents. Crows are also killed purposely due to their bad reputation. Despite being secured by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918, people have been putting extensive attempts to eliminate these birds.

These birds have been killed in significant numbers for quite a long time. Humans feed poisonous food to them, and their nests are also destroyed, resulting in the death of many fledglings.

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