A haze is hanging over our neck of the woods this morning, fog mixed with smoke from the fires to the North. It’s cool which may be the reason the birds are more active than they have been in 2 months or so. One good sign is the Crows have returned, it makes me happy to see them. I don’t have any photos of my own, so all of them here are from the free site unsplash with credit to the photographers.
The Mob has shown up this past week roosting in a tree not far away across the road in the Ranchers Pasture. He doesn’t appreciate them very much as they hang out in his Chicken Coop along with the wild Turkeys.
It’s curious how they develop habits that endure from one year to the next, some are recognizable by their habits. One of them put on a strange display of flying, I’m certain it is intentional but odd. He/She will be flying along as a normal bird will then suddenly stop flapping it’s wings causing a drastic and immediate fall from the sky. Falling through the air 20-40 feet (6.09-12.19 meters) until nearly striking the ground swooping up to fly away then repeating the “dive”. I watched it this morning vanish behind the far side Levee not to rise again. I’m confident She survived most likely feeding on the ground behind the dike.
One other recognizable habit from years past is this Mob displays a unique flight pattern. They will fly due West to the high voltage lines 400 yards (365.76 meters) then turn to the South following the lines until they are out of sight. The past few years I have seen them repeat this, last year they carried Pecans following one another with a 50 yard space between them. It’s not known where they are going, it’s uncertain if they migrate a long distance or during the Winter migrate to the Island from nearby. They may be storing the nuts somewhere for the winter, or feeding another brood somewhere, it’s hard to tell.
The photo shows the lines they follow to the left year after year. It’s astounding to me that they remember the route suggesting a high level of conscientiousness; which should not be too surprising as they are highly intelligent birds. As members of the Parrot family being highly social is no surprise at all. It has been determined they are able to recognize humans, knowing who is safe to be around and those to be avoided.
There are ways to discourage the Crows, unfortunately Scarecrows aren’t very effective after the birds get accustomed to them. That doesn’t take long as they are intelligent members of the animal kingdom. One method is to purchase a fake Crow and hang it by the feet upside down in the garden. Be very hesitant, I would not do that because they have been known to take revenge on the perpetrator; they will recognize the person that set that up, they don’t like it and may display their displeasure.
The good news is they have returned adding their spice to life on the slough, they are boisterous, lively and will gain in numbers over the next few weeks. Crows are my favorite bird, I welcome their return each year, they are the first to come, the waterbirds will be next.
Jacques Lebec Natural Self Reliance