Now I know where the crows roost in our nearest town.
I’ve never seen a crow roost before, but I’ve read about it. Crows converge at night to sleep together in a huge social group, although they spend most of their days alone or in small family groups. They have a designated place they gather.
They spend the evening before settling down socializing, sharing information, fighting, flirting.
Unexpectedly, while I waited in the parking lot for HW to come out of the grocery store, I discovered where the city crows sleep. Right in the heart of town.
Just before dark, they were swirling around the treetops of these few tall trees, settling down and then skirling up again, putting on swooping chases and synchronized flight maneuvers, diving and landing and taking off again, shouting raucously all the while. The trees were dotted with them and the sky full of action.
They were loud! A big crow social hour; a party before bed.
We have a clutch of robin’s eggs in the shed. Three nearly hairless little birds, asleep whenever I look at them. That means we will have to try and keep the shed from falling down before they fledge.
H.W. discovered them; he was always seeing the robin in the same place, looking “up to something”.
The mother, and possibly father (sometimes there’s two), it’s true, are always boinging around in the area, like they’re on springs, the way robins do. Usually there’s something hanging out of the beak, too, so they’re working hard bringing up the babies.
I just learned that crows (I admire, adore, respect, revere corvids) are primarily an urban bird, and a formidable predator to most songbirds. So if crows show up here, it will be because we drew them here, providing them with resources. I plan to try to deter them, to preserve the bird life that was flourishing here before we got here. Crows are flourishing all over the world because of their brains and adaptability, but the songbirds they predate are threatened and in retreat everywhere that people expand their habitation into rural areas. I want to protect and encourage the local birds that were here before we were.
There’s been one crow that flies over high and fast in a straight line midmorning, then returns four or five hours later. She’s shown no sign of stopping. When he passes he riles up the hawk and owls – they all talk. I remarked the crows really do sound different here, from B.C. crows, having just read about regional differences in corvid sounds. H.W. said “Mmm, the Maritime accent?”
A few birds need to be encouraged to stay. Swallows (and bats too). We could stand for a whole lot more blackflies to get swallowed. There’s a house up the road that has dozens of birdhouses up, and the air and wires around them are filled with tree swallows, so they’re doing something right. I hope it’s an if you build it they will come scenario.
I was driving through town and I caught with the corner of my eye a huge group of crows, startling enough I quickly braked to look. There were maybe fifty, densely packed all in one person’s yard, each a foot or two apart, systematically pecking over the driveway and lawn. It was odd to me because I hadn’t seen such a big flock of crows together.
Then a couple of weeks later, a flock four times that size came through our yard!
I caught movement in the corner of my eye again and went to the window, to see crows everywhere, sprinkled evenly over the lawn and driveway, all calmly at work flipping leaves over, walking around, scratching and pecking.
There were over 200! I counted. Several times. My counting got less accurate around 230 each time because the flock would have shuffled too much by the time I got that high. Occasionally a group would flutter up to the tree and talk about something and then settle back down to the ground.
They stayed for about a half hour, and then as one they rose into the air and flew together – into the next yard!
Please excuse a small rash of “catch up” posts. Blogging is a two part process – writing and taking pictures, and posting – each of which requires different states of mind, or at least internet/3G. Many posts pass the first in a flash and wait long for the second.