The whole flock was at the beach today. The babies are now big enough that they can start their gatherings at low tide. Last couple of weeks the count has been around 30 with a few babies. The different family flocks didn’t mingle too much. I was a surprised that they were at the 60 plus individual count this early in the year.
Crow affectionados know that come fall they will join massive roost flocks for the winter. A few individuals will be left to guard the home turf. Youngsters get to go and learn the Crow way and perhaps find a mate.
Crow Territories go through a cycle of being rather large with several families sharing and mingling during the fall and winter. Once spring comes they start protecting their family territories and pick their nest sites within that area. Once the Nest building starts and until the babies are fledged the territories get pretty darn small. As the fledgling comes along the larger family territories once again define the boundaries. Then it starts all over again with the big winter roost and the crow gatherings in mass. The way I figured out the nesting territory size changes was by the way they reacted to my bread feeding. As the area’s shrunk they would not cross the invisible boundaries into another crow’s area.
My local beach flock doesn’t usually go to the river valley (or if they are they have tricked me) and join the huge roost that happens there. In the Seattle area I know of several mega roosts. The UW area and the Renton wetlands. Since my office space is on the edge Renton I am treated each year with the wondrous sight of thousands of black wings. As I wrote earlier in this blog, some people are creeped out by this mass flock. I hear “Oh My God the movie “The Birds” is happening outside.
Back to the 60 Crows and 1 Eagle at the beach theme. The crow group were doing limited mocking of the Eagle who was perched in the Madronas. The babies are getting bigger and there is less chance of one being Eagle lunch. Once I started feeding them bread they deserted their harrassing and massed onto the beach. I want to point out that there is always a guardian left in the trees no matter what is happening. Crows don’t fool around and keep a tight security force. Here is the proud Eagle checking things out.