The Watchers

That title seems like a good horror movie title. However, that is what crow families have in place all the time. Another word for this behavior would be crow guards.

Guard crow
Guard crow

Being the observant Crow watcher, over the years I have seen my share of them. As I feed the murder there is one or two who hang out in the trees or on the wire. They are perhaps shy about getting their treat but when I watch them closely they are the protectors.

Crow Guard high up watches for trouble
Crow Guard high up watches for trouble

It seems the teenagers or juveniles earn their way by filling this position. When nesting time comes, the prior years child will often hang around for another year instead of mating themselves. This is more true with the boys than the girls. They help with the new baby raising by providing “the Watcher”. They are on guard for intruders and any stray morsel of food that might fall in the family’s territory. A big caw is in order when one is sighted and then the whole flock comes flying to assist or dine.

A few years ago I wrote a short story about a baby crow named Edgar. One of the post was his learning to be a guard crow.  Check it out here – Edgar learns to be a Guard Crow

Another type of guard duty is when the family travels away from their home area. They will leave a member behind to insure no other flock interloper or steals their space. This could include the best nesting tree, food sources or general space that is theirs.

He's the designated guard on the lookout for food and interlopers
He’s the designated guard on the lookout for food and interlopers

How do you spot this behavior you ask? First get to know your murder. Next when you observe them in their element watch for the bird who does not partake in the group activity. He/she will hang out up in the tree, often un-noticed or somewhat camouflaged.

Are you a guard crow? Most humans demonstrate this flock behavior too.  Happy protecting!!


  1. hello, Ive been too busy to read the blogs I follow lately, but great to come back to read about the Guaridan Crows. do you have a new theme? It looks really great, i like the format now.

    Great article, thanks.

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