The truth about Chimney Birds

At our house, we have a fireplace in the family room. Often, we will be startled by the loud sound of cawing that sounds like it comes from behind the grate. As we were not entirely sure what they were at the time, we named our frequent visitors “Chimney Birds.” Though we never saw them there, we always pictured them standing on top of the chimney, wings cupped around their beaks, leaning into the chimney and calling down to us.

Here is the sound (Note: The human is my 2 year old. Hey! You try getting a good recording with a toddler in the room!):

However, it was easy to find out that our Chimney Birds were:

American Crows (Corvus brachyrhynchos)

(Today’s species of the week!)


American Crows are entirely black, large and are sturdily built. They are 40-50 cm in height and have a wingspan of 1m. They look like this:



American Crows thrive around people, as well as in fields or woods. They are abundant all over the USA, as well as Canada (but mostly in the summer). They travel in flocks, are aggressive and scavenge for food. They are often seen eating roadkill, but carrion actually makes a small percentage of their diet. They eat a vast array of foods, from seeds, nuts and berries, to insects, eggs and fish.

One night we awoke in the early hours of the morning (2:00 or so), to loud cawing, and an eerie orange light from the moon outside. We looked out the window and all the rooftops in the neighbourhood were blanketed in black crows. It was one of the creepiest things I have ever seen. It was just like something out of a horror movie.

American Crows will always be Chimney Birds to me (and possibly to my poor misled children).




Posted on April 16, 2014, in Species of the week, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Rob McAllister

    Creepier yet is that you were looking at a “murder of crows”. Have a watch of Alfred Hitchcock’s 1963 classic “The Birds”.


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