Around my home I am surrounded by crow families. Most of us never notice the bird or animal families in our neighborhoods. Many years ago I saved a crow baby after she fell out her nest. This decision didn’t seem so smart at first but in hindsight we think of it as a gift of nature. We became crow parents and our view of the crow world around us was opened wide.
After Ellie (yes we named our baby) flew away, as any parent, I had a hole in my life. That sent me on a quest to find where she went. She had become crippled and over time I think I figured out where she is. Or at least I am as sure as I can be, since crows are near impossible for humans to tell apart. That is the theme of several of my articles… how do you identify crows but how do they know us?
In my many walks, I started to notice crow families that were always in the same place. The first year or so, I actually drew on maps and tracked them that way. Then came the grand idea to share with everyone my crow friends. That brought me to create this blog Crows of Arroyos which is all about My Crow World. Today for my special group of followers, I want to pen out in a circle from my house the crow families I know.
Lets start with my little 50s blue house. This is the place where a baby crow was raised in a plastic bin nest in our shed. Her parents never left the area and visited in the trees around us every day. They knew they couldn’t put her back in the nest, so they just supervised us. We often joke that the crows say to each other that they don’t want to be a “Shed Crow”.
After Ellie left to be with her new boyfriend that courted her, her greater family stayed put. At first we had Mocha and her clan. She(he) raised several babies, bringing them to our yard for safely after they fledged. One of them was a young male who we call Mocs. It is his family that now owns our yard. He has his wife, a child from last year and I his parents show up. This last fall an old crow was here every day. His feather was bad and ragged but he knew we were a safe oasis.
Moving South to the hairpin turn of 35th and Marine View Drive, there is a huge flock in non-breeding season. They spend their time between the beach and the area at the top of the bluff at that corner. There is a house that feeds them peanuts like we do and they hang out in the green belt at high tide or other bad weather. At low tide they are down at the beach browsing in the seaweed. They inspired my mini series called “Edgar the Baby Crow”. This flock can get upward of 50-75 individuals. There might be another flock at the end of Seola Drive at the beach, but then again they could be that MDV beach family too.
Going around on MVD to the beach trail several families have territories. One is in the madronna trees on the trail to the beach. I have written articles about them and their babies over the years. Further down the road is another house that feeds them and have told me they had baby crows in their tree. Good food and human support make for a successful crow family.
Further up MVD from that house is where Ellie comes for peanuts. She(he) lives between MVD and 37th in the fir trees there. That flock must be 10 bodies strong with always a new brood of babies each year. I think it is one of their children I found in the brush one year and wrote a wonderful article with close up pictures. By the way, her parents were not happy that I was poking around their prodigy.
At 110th and MVD there is another family. They are a combination of Mocs family and a few other individuals. They know me really well and beg for food every time they see me. They will follow me down MVD to a point where Ellie’s family’s territory begins. That is around 112th. There is no going over the border especially during baby time. A few peanuts will not even entice them to go there.
Walking up to 39th and MVD there is another family to be found with the banded crow I spot there frequently. I wrote several articles about him and even reported him to the banded bird projects. His family’s range goes down into the Arroyos community along 109th and they are about 10 – 15 birds strong.
Moving up 39th at around 106th is where I see the small family with another gimpy crow. This one is rather timid and I have documented them several times in the blog. This family is very small with only the two parents and an older child or two.
Cross over 106th on 39th a few blocks up from where gimpy girl and family won’t go, there is another smaller family at around 104th. They are part of a little bigger group that hangs out at Arbor Heights Elementary School. That school has been torn down & is being rebuilt so I need to see if they are still around. I suspect they are since open ground is good crow picking. A neighbor there told me how they raise their babies in his fir trees year after year.
Up 39th closer to 100th is another family. This is where I see a white banded crow and used to see a semi gimpy crow. They are another 7 to 10 member family and range between 39th and the alley. If I keep going up 39th towards Fauntleroy Park at about 98th there is another family of about 5 members. They range around towards the park entrance and one year raised triplets in the trees there.
Going past the park and around the corner to Forest Avenue, there is another family that resides on the edge of the park behind the houses that border there. That street deadend with another trail into the park, so that is why I have walked down there frequently.
Instead of going into the park, let’s go towards California Avenue which goes south towards a stairway in my area. That street also borders part of the forest and there is another family along there. Don’t know much about them but they are always there.
Let’s now head back south again towards home on the alley that borders California. There at 98th used to be a 5 member family. However over the last year I have not seen them. Wonder if they joined another murder. Moving along to 104th, there has been a consistent family right at that corner with California.
Next lets back track to the house that burned down a few years ago. It totally burned down because the fire hydrants didn’t have enough pressure. Another story to be told where I took video and almost got trapped by hoses laid down by the fire dept in the alley. There is a crow family in that alley too. They are still there even though one of their fir trees died from the heat. Oh, and a new house is finally being built there. I went by there today and was mobbed by a flock of well over 30 members. Must have been a several family gathering this morning for my peanut handout.
Way off this circular route if we take a side trip I have found a huge flock down by Explorer West Middle School on 30th Avenue SW. They range wide from about 104th all the way to Roxhill Elementary School across Roxbury Street. Also seen them up on 24th and 102nd. I have written a few articles about them including one on crooked beaks and a crow with gunky feet. That flock must be 50 or better in size.
We just traversed my small Arbor Heights neighborhood. There are a lot of human families in this urban area of Seattle all living alongside a prosperous bunch of crow families. Most of us humans don’t even notice the crows. However, as you can see from this little adventure I took you on, the crow families are just as invested in the area as we are. They year after year live in the same home territories, love their families and raise their children just like we do.
There’s a book I keep thinking of for you to read, I am not sure whether Bernd Heinrich or not, about the sociology of crows… a winter study possibly, it’s just out of reach, I keep trying to think of it. Will think of it sooner or later!
your blog looks so great! i would never have thought crows could make such an interesting subject for a blog! keep up the good work! ~The TJ Blog
Glad you enjoyed them. They are my kids in a wrird way. R