Crow Migration

I live 150 feet from an elementary school.  When this school is in session, we have a crow problem.  These attractive birds sing their songs and poop on my front lawn.  My wife’s response has been to blast them with owl sounds and to use owl balloons to make our house look scary.   Now that it is summer time, the crows are gone.    Their pursuit of food has nudged them somewhere else.   I look forward to seeing them again this fall.    This raises a question.  Who is better able to adapt to changing circumstances, crows or people?

UPDATE on truffle migration and climate change.

Author: Matthew E. Kahn

Professor of Economics at UCLA.

8 thoughts on “Crow Migration”

  1. Seagulls.

    They start circling over baseball stadiums in the SF Bay Area as if they have the schedules beamed in to their brains.

  2. Please say what you mean, Mr. Kahn. Are you suggesting we sprout wings as means of adaptation? You seem to be fond of asking questions as if you genuinely want an answer. But I think it’s a way of appearing engaged while masking indefensible stances. So please say clearly what you believe.

  3. Yes, Matthew, we get it. Global warming will NOT destroy humanity, because we will still be able to live as isolated bands of hunter-gatherers, trudging from one oasis to another over the wilds of Canada and northern Russia.
    It may surprise you, however, to learn that some of us had hopes that humanity had more in its future than a reversion to what we were doing fifty thousand years ago.

  4. Um – the fate of the overwhelming majority of crows is to die without reproducing. Most baby crow don’t live much past the nesting stage. And the fate of elderly crows, without exception, is to die of starvation or predation. There is no such thing as a crow who dies of old age.

    This is the fate of all non-human species except for pets, and it was the fate of most human beings until a few hundred years ago. Our ability to keep children alive until adulthood and to keep old people alive long enough to die of old age is the result of a wholly unnatural, human-made social system that permits us to understand and manipulate the natural world in a way that no other species can.

    So – there’s little doubt that whatever happens to the environment, the economy, or the political system, human beings will adapt to circumstances better than crows do: i.e., we will not quite get to the point that the great majority of infants die within the first couple of years of birth, many of those who survive infancy die of starvation, exposure or disease before reaching adulthood, and most of the survivors die at age fifty or so.

    But adapting to circumstances better than crows do is not the usual measure of the success of a civilized society.

  5. People. The crows *only* have exit; we have the other two options too. More choices is always better, no?

  6. Humans. Go read about symbolic interactionism (a theory in sociology) which is based on the idea that humans do not react to stimulus. Instead they accept sensory information and apply the theories maintained in the “self” and then plan for the future. Only after that do humans decide what actions to take.

    Not only does this process include self-conscious in which the “self” becomes an object to be acted on during the planning process, this process also includes recognition that there is both a past and a future. That future is what can be planned for. Today’s actions then become those which are most likely to cause that planned future to come into being.

    This process allows humans to imagine a different future environment and then act today to create that changed environment. No crow living is known to have that capability. They live in the present and they react directly to each sensory stimulus. They are unable to create a new environment in which they will have a better life because they cannot imagine a future different from what they observe today.

    In short, humans create their own environments. Crows merely react to an existing environment. Which species is more adaptable? Show me the scuba-diving crow and I many modify my opinion.

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