Watching crows for years I have noticed that they have a family hierarchy with rules that all members must adhere to. Think of these like our customs of respect to elders and other rituals we follow to insure our families stay within the box of a smooth operating unit.
On my recent trip I positioned myself to watch where Fauntleroy Creek flows into Puget Sound next to the Washington State Ferry Dock. This piece of the creek with it’s pool has been featured in several of my posts. It is fascinating to watch birds flutter in the water and then jump out to sun their feathers into perfect shape.
This time when I arrived and got situated in the driftwood nearly under the dock, I noticed several larger crows on driftwood around the creek’s beach they prefer. One was up on a curved vertical piece of wood and he was obviously the guardian of the pool. Nearby was another large guy also up high playing the ownership role. In the photo at the top you can see all driftwood that covers the stream as it flows towards us. The bathing hole is closer to where you see that tall upright driftwood with a crow on it. (under the word Rules with a bush backdrop). Shall we get a bit closer so you can see what I mean?
In this photo look where the sand meets the logs between the two crows positions. There is a little gap in the wood where they walk down to the bird beach and pool. Fresh water is important and so these two are in charge of protecting this from any interloper.
The gang that were around the pool took turns washing up and then sitting in the sun preening their feathers. My vantage did not have the pool in sight this time but watching their family dynamic was very enlightening.
Time went by and the pool gang hung out like a bunch of teenagers at the beach. I called them the amigos as they roosted on the driftwood on the beach side of the pool area. Oh and the guard on the hook driftwood directly over the pool was still in position.
Several crows decided that where the creek’s channel was closer to the sound worked just as good. This was because the guards were keeping non-members from their private pool.
Then a younger bird decided to use the pool. He flew over and started to enter the area. The guard on the beach side got down and herded him away. It was like he was checking him out and saying “Hey, you cannot just enter the pool. You need to ask the guards first.”
After they had their crow chat moment, the guard escorted the other crow to the beach and watched him carefully.
Wow – never saw that kind of interaction but knowing crows it seemed so like them. Family and rules not only drive us humans but so do they instruct crows on how to conduct their lives.