Crows that Mob

Whenever I see a batch of crows, aka “a murder”, I stop and watch. It is usually a sign of a hawk, owl or eagle close by. An encounter of the wild kind is to be found this way.

This weekend I was driving to the store and noticed crows flocking to this fir tree. It is nesting season and this behavior is even more than likely predator harassment. In the winter crows flock together for roosts and other friendly behavior. However, in the spring they become more solitary as they form up into small family groups to raise their babies.

Here is a little video of the behavior they were exhibiting so you can have a quick front seat to this crow show.

After looking through my pictures I couldn’t find what they were working over in that tree. That leads me to believe that they are just showing off to each other. Crows are pranksters and last years babies are now this years teenagers or young adults. They need to make their mark in the crow family and a good mob scene is a place to do that.

Perhaps there was a predator there earlier. Since it is the season for babies an owl or hawk can be troublesome to a mother sitting on her eggs and early hatchlings. They make a tasty treat or snack for an enemy of the crow kind. Now don’t feel too sorry for crows here. Crows do the same thing in reverse order of the natural food chain. I have encountered them raiding a robin’s nest. It was a very sad sight to see the mother and father chasing the black bandits away as their little ones are ravished. Guess all is fair in love, war and survival.

Today was a morning social event for this family. The mob mentality had set in and they gathered together in the fun of it all. If the owl or hawk was there they would take turns racking at him/her. Each crow in turn showing off to the other crows how close they can get. There really is no danger but just plain good fun to be had at the expense of a non-crow bird.

What does this mob accomplish? An owl loosing sleep by having to move does not really protect the crow children or does it? Think about the message the mob makes. It is telling that bigger bird that they are being watched. That the nest they protect has lots of uncles, aunts, siblings and grandparents hovering around and guarding it day and night.  Can you see a crow lifting its wings to its eyes like we do with two fingers and then turning them around at another? That is their way of saying watchout, we know you and don’t trust you. You are on notice Mr. Big Bad Bird.

I leave you with this thought of nature and how crows do have emotions that range from love of family to hatred of another bird. Hmmm..remind you of humans?

Note: For those that have followed my blog, I have to tell you that my articles on Longacres took on a life of their own. They consumed me for weeks with planning, researching, photography and execution of the articles. When it was done I was proud and elated to have published them like a thesis paper.

However, as the week passed, I found I was restless. I had stopped allowing serendipity to appear into my life. Once I realized that, I had to retrain myself to let go and stop trying to force a subject or idea. That is a hard thing to do in this world of instant everything and wanting to be entertained at every turn. I now encourage all of you to spend a little time every day/week to just let life happen. You will be surprised at what you discover about the world and yourself.

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