Pizza-eating crow

I just missed photographing the dramatic moment yesterday morning when this crow swooped down to the road (old Dixie Highway in Rio/ Jensen Beach west of the bowling alley) in front of an oncoming car and grabbed a half-eaten slice of pizza.

He carried it in his beak to this spot along the overhead wires that was a wider place to rest the slice while he ripped off pieces.

Other crows came in to watch and wait their turn.

I would have thought pizza too heavy to carry but this was a strong crow, made strong perhaps by its skill at foraging. Brains, then brawn.

I am assuming it is a Fish Crow, as we are not far from water and their calls were nasally uh-ohs.

Not everyone realizes it, but there are two kinds of crows across much of the eastern United States. Looking almost identical to the ubiquitous American Crow, Fish Crows are tough to identify until you learn their nasal calls. Look for them around bodies of water, usually in flocks and sometimes with American Crows. They are supreme generalists, eating just about anything they can find.

The crows spread out along this road and move singly or in small groups from place to place to look for food and to people-watch.

At night in winter they fly in groups that merge to get larger and larger as hundreds more crows stream in to join, heading southeast towards their night roost somewhere across the Indian River Lagoon, maybe on a spoil island or on the northern tip of Jupiter Island that is an undeveloped state park accessible only by boat (or wing).

In spring and summer, they pair off to nest in neighborhoods. Here’s the time I watched a pair in Sewall’s Point defend their nesting territory from a hawk.

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