News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Local & Bistate

January 12, 2007

Speaker highlights good side of crows

Dr. Kevin McGowan wanted to show people the good side of crows at his lecture Friday night at Indiana State University.

“Living with crows is a lot like living with my dog or my relatives,” McGowan said. “There are lots of things that annoy me about them, but on the whole the relationship is positive and I’m glad they’re around.”

His lecture, “The American Crow: Not Just Another Pretty Songbird,” was part of “CrowFest 2007,” 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.

“CrowFest” is a four-day event that also features the “Crow Show,” an exhibition of crow art in mixed media at the ISU Turman Art Gallery. The exhibit runs through Feb. 2.

The Wabash Valley Audubon Society will also lead a group crow viewing tonight. Participants should 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.

McGowan, who has studied crows for the past 25 years, is the director of the ornithology lab at Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y.

About 50 people attended the lecture to learn more about the animal that has spent a lot of time in the news recently.

Justin St. Juliana, 26, a doctoral student in the Ecology and Organismal Biology department, said he and his friends go to a lot of campus lectures, but this one was special because “crows have been very popular in the news lately, or unpopular.”

A family side was presented about the crow during McGowan’s PowerPoint presentation as well as its migrating habits and its tie to the West Nile Virus.

“It’s not all about gangs and big flocks and stuff,” he said.

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