Posted in Crows in Renton

Time for Sitting

The nursery is decorated and now all there is left to do is to wait.

Since my last blog on the Renton Crow pair who built a nest outside my office window, the nest has grown and been finished with some soft things inside.

On Monday the 2nd of April when I got in, they were still busy. To give you a good feeling of what things look like here is a distance shot.

Broken tree becomes home for a crow family

I couldn’t help zeroing in on the rope looking thing in the nest. Here is that shot. Anything will do to get the babies a good place to live.

Rope and sticks make a nest

Speaking of building and lining the inside, here is a photo of tail up. The crow is head down fixing up things nice.

Tail up!! Getting it ready for the kids.

By the 6th the nest has grown a bit more. Check it out & see the rope?

April 6th is here and the crows are not going away

Thursday the 12th you can see there is still some fluffing going on.

The 12th and the nest is just about done

Friday the 13th she is sitting in there hanging out.

Patience is a moms virture

Then I swear in this photo she is looking right at me thru the window.

Friday the 13th – nest sitting to be safe

Monday the 16th we had a bit of excitement. It happened so fast I have no pictures. There she was sitting in the nest and another crow kept coming over and landing next to her. She got more than a little pissed. The first time she just chased them out & went back to sitting. However, the second round she actually chased them across the street and over the buildings there.

I have been wondering if this was a nest robber? Perhaps jealousy and going to destroy the eggs? or was it her mate? She basically chased him away so he would not be a clue for others to know she was sitting. I almost think it was a spouse squable around keeping things a secret.

Here is a photo of a crow in the tree, which I have not seen since.

Watcher on 16th.

Then the 17th here she is showing the tail end.  Most of the time she sits head headed south. This rare shot is her headed north.

Tis the 17th and I am still here

Thursday the 19th I got a good close up of her just sitting patiently.

Peeking out at you on the 19th.

And took a little video of her doing her thing.

Friday brings the weekend and here she is showing us her tail again. Hope you enjoyed the adventure with me.  A bit like watching paint dry but just wait till there are babies!!

Friday the 20th!! Made it a week!
Posted in Crows in Renton

Crow Nest under Construction

How about a little series of photos showing the progress my Renton Crow family made this week building their nursery?  Might seem a little boring but for those that are big crow or bird fans here is a chance to see how it happens.

To get you started here is where we left off on Thursday 3/22/18.  Plus a link so you can see the video of the pair too.

Team Crow start building

Crow nest in Renton, WA – 3/22

I was off work on the following Friday, so the next photo I have is from Monday the 26th.

Monday 3/26 am – Renton Nest

It is subtle but the size is growing upward to form a deep bowl so no baby will fall out.  That day I also got this shot of one of the pair’s tail sticking out as they work away on their new home.

Working away

Tuesday came and the nest is still seeing a lot of action.

Tuesday around 2pm – nest is growing before our eyes

Sometime Tuesday before the above picture was taken, some frayed rope, fur or natural fiber appeared stuck to a branch.  See it middle of the nest pile?  I am going to try to get a better photo next week of that.

View of tree top with mom/dad working away on Tuesday

This tree shot gives you some perspective of how the tree has a broken top. This lends to a good foundation for the crows and a perfect view for me out of my window.  The tree got damaged in an ice storm that happened about 5 years ago.

Wednesday came and construction is moving along.

Wednesday 3/28 – 8am snapshot of crow nest

Now it is Thursday and here is a new view of how big this crow nest is getting.

Renton nest grows more – this is Thursday 3/29 around 8:45am

This brings us to Friday and our last view until I go back to work tomorrow.

Time for the weekend – Crow Nest Friday 3/30 – almost 2pm

Stay tuned for more on our favorite crow family next week.

Posted in Crows in Renton

Team Crow – Nest Building

Outside my office window some major construction is occurring. Not the human kind but Team Crow is hard at work building a new nursery. They have picked a tree dead center of my window view. It’s top was broken several years ago during a snow/ice event we had. This makes my view uninterrupted.

Crow nest in top of broken tree

Over the last week I have kept a diary of their activity in this tree and the ones to either side of it. They kept coming back to broken tree over an over. They did test sitting sessions to see how it felt and how safe it seems.

Then on Thursday 3/22/18, they got real serious. Not a stick a day in the morning but lots of sticks all day long.

Team Crow busy building this nest

I got my camera out and took these photos and best of all a video of the building. While filming them the crow in the nest cawed at another off-screen. My thought was oh boy, the jig is up and they have been seen by an adversary.

Instead the crow wiggled her tail in greeting and delight after the caw which must have been a greeting versus a warning.

Watch the little video as she is busy building, says hello to her mate, leaves the nest and her(his) spouse takes his(her) turn.

Go TEAM CROW

Before I left for the day here is a close up of how the nest is looking.  Good start!

Crow nest in Renton, WA

 

Posted in Crows in Renton

Longacres Railroad Crow Murder

Just north of where I-405 crosses Monster Road and the Longacres Entrance Units Relics stand I have observed a Crow family that seem to hang out on the railroad tracks.  Here is a link to the article that started my Longacres historical adventure – Longacres Relic

The first time I saw them was back last summer when a little baby was doing the momma momma cry right on the rails.

Baby Crow with mom next to rails – Summer 2016
Young crow playing near the RR tracks

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here is a little video so you can see what I mean.

When I went back in November last year here was the family a little south of I-405 and north of the train station along the same rails. Another clue that this territory is owned by a murder.

Crow family owns the RR tracks near Longacres – Nov 2016
Old Longacres parking lot with family up on rail

That brings us to yesterday. I swung by the entrance units to see what was up with a skatepark that was built next to them.  For your viewing pleasure here is a link to the new post I did today on the latest developments.  Longacres Relics and Skate-park under I-450

This place has a funny loop of a road that is the left over from before the freeway was built in the 1960’s. This comes along the railroad, goes under I-405 and then between the two entrance units. At the north end where I saw the baby crow over a year ago there was this proud crow staking out their home. (the main picture at the top is a close up of this same crow yesterday)

Railroad Crow family late 2017 – see Rocky the Squirrel?

What I did not notice until I put the photos on my computer is the well done graphic of Rocky the Flying Squirrel of cartoon fame.  This is the Family Fun Center over on the other side of the tracks.

So, why would a crow family find this railroad area their home. I think it is a combination of human food access and wild areas. This is an unusual combination of old, new, developed and undeveloped. Close at hand is the Fun Center with many children running around with food product. There is a major train station to the south too. Right close to where I found them is the skate-park and off on the west side of the tracks per the skaters is a homeless encampment.

Sweet!!  Lots of free food for the family. Combine that with nooks and crannies, trees and bushes to have a nursery and you have crow home.

If you live close to corvids, watch and see if you can’t identify a family’s territory.  We may not be able to recognize them but bet you it is the same team beating out a living.

Posted in Crows in Renton

Tragedy at dusk in the Roost

This last week has been crow crazy around my office building at dusk. Hundreds of birds flying around, perched in trees, playing tag and making a general racket.

I have written many times about the Renton Roost and the thousands of black feathered souls that come to this part of the valley for their evening get together.

On Thursday, I decided I had to get up and move around.  I had done some serious report work on my computer and needed to stretch my legs. In an effort to be useful, I went outside to pickup trash in our parking lot.

Got a garbage bag and circled the property grabbing old fast food wrappers and a few bottles around the bus stop out front. I had a pretty full bag and there was more to be had on the corner. I decided I could not haul off the old signs, truck parts or massive sheets of plastic and went back down the parking lot.  There was a black bag down there that was going to be my last piece.

To my distress I found a beautiful crow laid on his belly in repose. I knew then the cawing I had heard earlier in the day was his funeral procession. Several of the crows who stay put in the valley had been rather noisy and I just wrote them off as crows chasing a hawk or each other. Instead they were saying their final good bye to this guy laying here.

At closer look he must have hit his head. It had a bit of gash but nothing that looked too bad. Otherwise he was absolutely perfect in every crow way. His feathers were dark black blue and all laying perfectly. His wings were rested against his sides just like he was sleeping in a way no crow would ever lay.

Then I picked him up and took him to the big dumpster for his final return to the earth. His family and my work family did not need to see him decompose and lose his luster every day that passed.

I have no picture to share, which is not a bad thing. I have a post about a dead baby crow and it is so sad to see it from time to time.

The next few days I have wondered what happened. My best guess is he was startled in all the frolicking around our building and hit the edge head on. A quick way to go but still sad for this crow loving lady.

For you to see what I mean on how this might have happened, here is a video of what the murder was doing this week just a couple blocks down the street. Check out how they are all lined up egging each other on.

Say a little prayer for all the crows and birds that perish every day. We forget they are mortal just like us and live boldly in their short time on earth.

Posted in Crows in Renton

Crow Dusk Buzz In

Dusk means it is time to go home from work. I usually pack up around 5:30 performing the ritual of lights out and security code on.

This week the Crows were going home to roost at the same time as I.

There I was on the second floor, turned the lights out and took this little video of their flying, hanging out in the trees and getting ready for bed.  Tis a crow buzz in!!

Off close to the north I found this large family sitting in a tree all facing to the southwest and the setting sun. That direction they are all facing is where the video above was taken. The multitude is forming up and sweet crow dreams are coming.

Posted in Crows in Renton

Crow Renton Roost Time

Fall has arrived and it is time for the great Renton Crow Party to start outside my office window. Over the years I have investigated this phenomenon.  Here are several of my articles  –  Murder comes to Roost and Mega Renton Crow Roost

Crow Ornaments in Renton Trees

I have to admit I still have more questions than answers even after all these years. To watch them arrive around our building in the fall leaves one in total awe. Some employees have gone running to their cars claiming it is a scene from a movie…  aka “The Birds”. Not me, I am transfixed by them and amazed by the aerial performance. Want to see a little sample of this?  Go to this post with video – Renton Crow Rendezvous

One of my unanswered questions is whether this is just a fall thing? I suspect that quite a number of crows come to the valley each night all year-long. What we are seeing in the fall and winter is because the dawn and dusk coincides with our work schedule. In the summer and late spring the days are longer so the coming and going of the big flock are not seen by us.

My first suspicion to this was in the summer when I saw small families in the Burien area flying to the southeast each night. This is mostly occurring after the babies have become big enough to fly greater distances.  Plus in my neighborhood a guard is left at the home territory. That just means the Renton Roost isn’t as large as in the fall/winter time.  This is all just my assumption or theory. Some day I will have the time to confirm this or someone can chime in with additional facts.

Why this place in Renton? As you can see from my prior blog posts I have tried to sort that out. I have resigned myself to the fact that we will not ever really know the answer.

Why do crows mob and roost in large groups? Over the years I have looked at this in several ways. One was to understand this as a bird behavior. Then again it is tempting to add a more human, family, or intelligence aspect of this big gathering. How much I wanted it to be a big party where they get together to share stories, show off children and get to see their distant cousins. Where the reason lies is somewhere in the middle or none of the above. Don’t think we will ever understand this.

Crows and Corvids are a mysterious bunch. I am not surprised that I have questions unanswered. Unexplained behavior is not exclusive to crows but due to their amazing intelligence we are fascinated by them. We humans have built legends around them and in some ways even worshiped them.

Just remember… “They are Black!”

Crow Pair watch the flock
Posted in Crows in Renton

Crow Collision

Yesterday when we went to leave the office I am sad to report a poor crow soul was found laying in a parking spot.

img_6819
Crow lays in parking spot

It had grown completely dark and the usual murder that flocked around our building had been gone for about a half hour. I have to assume this happened right at dusk because one of my co-workers was parked in that spot until about an hour earlier.

Blunt trauma killed this crow
Blunt trauma killed this crow

I have often been asked and myself wondered if there were mid-flight crashes when a huge flock of birds fly together. This crow probably is a fatality of a crash. From how he looks I am going to assume he was somehow thrown off course and struck the side of the building. See how in the top picture the flock hangs out along the edge? Perhaps he was coming in for a landing and was bumped or diverted to miss another bird. Then he struck the cement wall.

The other cause is a mid flight crash. Wonder if there is another bird injured or laying dead close by? We will never know why but we can see it does happen. Thank goodness it must be very rare and not a common event.

Sad no matter how you look at crows
Sad no matter how you look at crows

Watching and documenting nature isn’t all flowers and baby crows. It also includes reporting on the sad things like death, injury and misguided cruelty from humans or other birds/animals.

Having followed the Renton Murder for years I have encountered several deaths. They range from babies that do not survive to inter-tribal fights.  You can find those articles at these following links:

Crows react to Baby Crow Death

Nest in Renton and Crow Death

Posted in Crows in Renton

Nightly Show powered by Crow

Tis the time of year for the Crow Roost Spectacular in Renton, WA. Hope you enjoy them streaming thru the trees by our office as they head towards their evening party. This is so amazing over the years I have not gotten tired of their annual roost behavior. The din of their voices and as one coworker told me… you can hear the crow poop falling all around you and our cars.

Posted in Crows in Renton

The Roost is ON

Drive home at dusk or to work in the dawn hours and looking to the sky a cloud of black bodies rush by. What is that? Is it a flashback to a childhood fear of an Alfred Hitchcock movie? Is it a macabre beginning to Halloween and the Day of the Dead?

No… this is nature’s crow community annual winter gathering. What you say? Crow’s have community? They consciously party like we humans? They have a strategy to survive winter?

Yes is the answer to all of these questions. We as humans are so focused on our own mortality and the unknown that frightens us. That makes us fixate on things in the natural world that we don’t understand. Then we quickly assign our fears and misunderstandings to fill our knowledge gap.

Over the years I have documented a huge crow roost that exists south of Renton, Washington in a natural area that borders Springbrook creek. They mob our office building to make for some excellent video. When you watch the video below you can’t help but be amazed.

If you want to see the rest of that post here is the link.

https://batgurrl.net/2014/12/13/renton-crow-rendezvous

Next post is apropos for the season. It was exactly a year ago I documented their crazy mob scene down by the fire station north of our office.

Crow Ornaments in Renton Trees
Crow Ornaments in Renton Trees

Here is the link so you can read up on their worship of the sun and a video that lets you hear the volume of cawing that day.

Eve of Halloween Crows in Renton

Moving on to October of 2013 when I wrote an article about Crow roosts and what University of Cornell’s web site had to say about this behavior.

I also started some research with the Renton Museum’s help on why they keep coming back to the same place. (the video and photos in the prior post are in the same area too) Was this a waste dump in the past or was it an agriculture site that they were drawn to for food. This area is just to the east of the now demolished Longacres Racetrack. Did that draw the multitude?

I was surprised when my contact at the museum sent me information on the plating of this area.  Here is a small excerpt.

Before Hillman platted it for homes, it does not appear that this land was farmland, which I thought might explain the birds returning.  For the most part surrounding parcels were industrial in nature, owned by Puget Sound Power & Light, Seattle Electric, and Renton Cooperative Coal.”

Want to read more?  here is the link.

Murder comes to Roost

A couple of weeks later I did some more follow-up. This post talks about Hillman and what a crook he was.  More important I found information regarding how this area flooded over and over again.  If you visit this post you will see some aerial photos showing the devastation that happened in the 40’s around the area.

Mega Renton crow roost

In the end you just have to respect crows and how they know how to party for Halloween. Oh and remember they are all black.