How can you tell if the bird is a crow vs another bird with black plumage? Like a grackel or some such? (i live in an area with a lot of similar looking birds)
hm! well, for me, the easiest way to tell them apart is by size.
we don’t have grackles where I am, but I assume they’re similar in size to blackbirds and starlings! i.e.: aboooout the size of your hand, give or take.
crows are much bigger! an American Crow is about the size of your forearm (16 - 20 inches).
(also, your ask didn’t mention ravens, but! they’re HUGE. a Common Raven can stand over two feet tall. i know that doesn’t sound like a lot, but trust me. it’s a lot to take in when you see one up close)