Crow Man of Ithaca to caw at ISU's "CrowFest 2007"

January 5 2007

A Cornell University researcher known as the "Crow Man of Ithaca" will be the speaker for "CrowFest 2007" at Indiana State University.

Kevin McGowan, research associate with the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology, has been studying the reproductive and social behavior of American crows in the Ithaca, N.Y. region since 1988.

Often called upon by news organizations to comment on the perceived increase in urban crow populations, McGowan believes there has actually been no increase in the overall population of crows in North America. It's just that they have learned to hang around town to avoid hunters.

McGowan grew up in Springfield, Ohio, a community which, like Terre Haute, tends to attract crows in the fall after farmers harvest their fields. Springfield, with a human population of approximately 65,000, slightly larger than Terre Haute, is the winter roosting site to an estimated 150,000 crows. A December estimate by student and faculty researchers at Indiana State put the number of crows in Terre Haute at approximately 58,000.

As part of his research, McGowan documents an unusual trait of American crows. Unlike most other birds, they have extended families. Some crows stay with their parents for five years or longer, helping to raise their younger brothers and sisters.

McGowan will speak at 7 p.m. January 12 in the ISU Science Building, Room 012. His presentation is free and open to the public.

Presented by the ISU president's office, the department of life sciences and the Wabash Valley Audubon Society, "CrowFest 2007" is a four-day event also featuring a crow art exhibit and crow watching tours.

The "Crow Show." an exhibition of crow art in mixed media at the ISU Turman Art Gallery, runs Jan. 10 through Feb. 2.

Group viewing of crows, led by members of the Wabash Valley Audubon Society will take place Wednesday (Jan. 10) and Saturday (Jan. 13). Those interested in participating are asked to meet in the parking lot of the Vigo County Public Library at 5:20 p.m. before proceeding as a group to viewing sites to see the crows.

"CrowFest 2007" is co-sponsored by ISU's College of Arts & Sciences, the University Art Gallery, the Wabash Valley Animal Hospital, ISU's department of ecology and organismal biology, and the West Central Indiana Bird Club.

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Contact: Elaina Tuttle, associate professor, life sciences, Indiana State University,(812) 237-8442 or etuttle2@isugw.indstate.edu

Writer: Dave Taylor, media relations director, Indiana State University, (812) 237-3743 or dave.taylor@indstate.edu

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A Cornell University researcher known as the "Crow Man of Ithaca" will be the speaker for "CrowFest 2007" at Indiana State University.

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