Crows and Crow

I love crows. They are so intelligent they are fascinating to watch, and you can see it in their eyes.

I love crows in spite of the damage they cause to crops and my vegetable garden.  They are so intelligent they are fascinating to watch, and you can see it in their eyes.

Crow head close-up
Crow head close-up

I also hear Ted Hughes in my head whenever I see a crow.  I heard him read his book-length poem Crow, from the Life and Songs of  on the BBC a long time ago.  Unfortunately I haven’t been able to find the recording but it was not long after I finished grammar school and moved my love of poetry from “some of those I learned in school were OK” to “Wow!”. I went out the next day and bought the book, which I still have and still read.

He jumped into the rocket and its trajectory
Drilled clean through her heart he kept on

And it was cosy in the rocket, he could not see much
But he peered out through the portholes at Creation

And saw the stars millions of miles away
And saw the future and the universe

Crow
Crow

 

Great Backyard Dinosaur Count

Today is the last day of Great Backyard Bird Count so I diverted a half hour to counting. Here are some pictures and the count.

I almost missed the bird count.  Thanks Twitter for last minute reminder.  As soon as I started the clock, every bird fled for cover in the trees but a few flew back over the half hour I could spare.
Here’s some pictures.

This shot of our local pair of cardinals would have been better for Valentine’s Day.  They are always together.

Cardinals in thornbush
Cardinals in thornbush

All the birds round here can fly.  Even the turkeys are pretty good at it given their size.  None of those showed up for the count, haven’t been around for a couple of days since we mutually startled each other when they were hiding a few feet away from me. So here are some juncos.

Junco flying 1
Junco flying 1
Junco flying 2
Junco flying 2

It is still only -10ºC, up from -20 this morning, so they’re still fluffing up their feathers.

Junco in dogwood
Junco in dogwood

Plenty of protection in the thorn bush – they’re safe from the hawk here. Another no-show for the count, though.

Juncos in thorn bush
Three Juncos in thorn bush

Finally, a negotiation over the feeder.  The cardinal crouched and snapped its beak at the blue jay. The cardinal got to keep its spot but the blue jay just moved 10cm away and they ignored each other after that.  Human disputes over territory should work as well.

Blue Jay and Cardinal negotiate sharing
Blue Jay and Cardinal negotiate sharing

Here are my counts for 1/2 hour starting at noon. Full sun, 60cm snow cover (hard packed, icy).

Species Count
Blue Jay 3
Junco 23
Red-breasted Nuthatch 1
Chickadee 3
Downy Woodpecker 1
Cardinal 2
Crow 3

I’m sure all the others will be back now I’ve stopped counting.
Dinosaur count? Birds are the last of the dinosaurs.

These doves are hawkish – bird metaphors in real life

The doves in my garden are not quite hawks – they literally take off when the real resident hawk flies by.  But other than predators, they are top bird and peck aggressively when any others try to use the same spot for feeding.

Mourning doves
Mourning doves

And this crow circled round a few times, perched on a post, glided to the ground and then walked a 10-metre curved path to get to the food.  Not exactly “as the crow flies”.

 

As the crow flies
As the crow flies

However, “as black as a crow” is quite accurate:

Crow feeding
Crow feeding