We have a little problem in the Northwest these last couple of years. It is called beetle larvae. Some folks call it White Grubs. Whatever they are they are killing lawns with the help of wild critters such as raccoons, otters, skunks and of course my black friends… crows.
They cannot withstand the temptation of a lovely grub meal so they rip and churn the turf to find every last morsel. I head one person call this attack a “grass massacre”.
Here they are down at Lincoln Park next to the parking lot.
Note: I had to find a tool online to flip this video. Shame on me for recording in vertical.
Back to the crows & their meal. Check out the damage they did to just a small stripe of grass.
Yesterday I went Brown Bear Car Wash to wash some of the winter dirt off. As I was sitting in line I saw a pair of crows on a wire overlooking the entrance of the wash.
As it goes with wildlife photos, by the time I got my camera out they took off. Then it was my turn to pay and get into the tunnel of soap. The lady taking my money asks me if my rear mirror ornament crow was a raven or a crow. Then her buddy comes over and tells me how much they love it.
I told them about the pair of crows I saw, and to my delight they said they nest on top of the building there. Plus how a co-worker is so obsessed in a bad way about them. They were giggling about how crazed this person was and they loved the crows.
Then it was time to get my car clean. After I got out I drove around to the other side of the building and took a few photos. The sun glare made them not the best but you can see how crows know a good thing. A place with food, friendly people and water. Plus the Des Moines Marina and beach were only a block away. Crow heaven.
On the Green River to the west side of Kent, the city has converted the old country roads on both banks to trails. You may have seen this in my series about what I saw walking the Green River Trail.
This President Day it was sunny but chilly and I set out to do one of the loops that they have created. My path was where a small foot bridge crosses the river to the west bank. I parked my car on the east side of the bridge and to my delight the crow family I saw before were there. The picture above shows the area of the bridge. Here is a link to that prior post (about year and half ago) which among other topics talks about this family by the bridge.
They were also there when I returned at the end of my walk. Here is one of them hanging out watching me throw the peanuts for them.
Off I went across the bridge. I could see through the metal grating as I crossed the river. That freaked me out a bit and then I hit a grate that rattled. That got me hanging onto the rail from there on. I was going to walk down the west side of the river and then turn around. That bridge freaked me out so much, I decided I would walk down to the next pedestrian bridge and then walk back on the east bank trail.
That turned out to be a great thing because I came to where I had seen the young eagle a year and half ago. This is an established pair in two poplar trees. Here is the blog post to give you some context.
This set of babies were raised in the tree to the left. The family has moved into a new nest on the right tree leaving the old nest as a nice memory.
When I approached the area, I heard a big bird making some calls. Not the usual eagle screech but certainly not a chickadee sound. That was when I saw one of them up in the tree.
I then walked on down the trail and when the tree got back in view I was able to see the pair in the nest.
A lot of non-bird people do not realize that many bird species have staked out homes and territories just like we humans. This revisit to the Green River trails confirmed for me that both the crows and eagles are returning again and again. They are not only raising families here but have found good food sources. Why would they give up a good thing?
Halloween time brings nightmares of crows and ravens attacking. They have gotten a bad rap. Just because they graze on dead bodies or are smarter than some humans is no reason to make legends about their evil.
Here we have a crow sitting atop a sign trying to tell us something powerful. Could it be as simple as a dead-end road is ahead? or do we put more meaning onto his perch? Is he telling us it is not too late to change our ways? That some of us have made choices that are a dead-end?
Looking inward is what fall and winter brings. It makes us reflect upon our year and perhaps find how we can be better residents of this earth.
This crow just happens to be misunderstood. Don’t you know any bird that is all black has to be bad. Perhaps they are not what we have been told. Sound familiar about how not to judge others by just their appearance.
Want to know more about Crow legend and how Halloween is attached to them? Here are a few links to some other posts on those topics.
Came around the corner today. What did I find? Crow Bone!
You could make a chant out of that – it has such a nice ring and made me smile to see the plucky crow munching on his pork chop bone. And in the middle of the street too!
I am sure he did it not to be a smarty pants or amuse this crow-stalker. He knows that others will want to steal his golden treasure of snackdom. So, he consumes in the middle of the street to protect himself from thieves.
Here is his story:
I leave you with a short video of his love of the Crow Bone.
Nature brings us many observations and lessons. This week I was drawn to a crow mob’s sound and found they were targeting a hawk along the freeway. The question I pose is, are the crows being brave or are they being a harassing mob?
These brave crows were dive-bombing and strafing the hawk as he sat in a fir tree just looking for a meal. The murder believes the hawk is their mortal enemy since they prey on their young in the spring. Nor do they want to share the rich human offerings of the freeway exit with Mr. Hawk.
On the flip side, the hawk has a family to raise too. He is seeking a snack to stay strong through the winter and pretty much minding his own business.
We humans could use a little of this perspective to balance what is bravery and harassment. On this lovely day of Thanksgiving can we lay aside our prejudices and pre-conceived ideas to better understand each other. It is all too easy to think harassment makes us appear strong. However, we are also showing our lack of another attribute -> compassion.
So, instead of chasing each other like my beloved crows are with this hawk, let us soar together and make this world a better place.
Sitting at a stoplight I gazed around the neighborhood. Across the street was a crow on the wire hanging out in the cool dawn.
The light changed. I started through the intersection and to my amazement the crow flew into the street. Don’t worry he didn’t jump in front of my car. He was off to my left on the cross street that had just stopped so I could cross.
This crow was staring at the stoplight. When it went red, he jumped into the car free street. He knew they were controlled by the light and it was safe to get the morsel he had scoped out.
How smart is that? To have observed the intersection and how the traffic signal controlled the cars. He used that knowledge to get his breakfast in the middle of the street.
Stay alert for smarty pants crows! Nature is amazing.
Along the Green River’s west bank is a small flock of crows beating out a living. What a good living it is too. Crow Stalker’s walk along the river has found another family to feature.
This piece of the river cuts between a large housing development on the west side and a Kent park and a large kennel on the east side. It was on the backside of the kennel I first noticed them. A hawk was floating on a thermal close by and the resident crows were not happy with him. Their cawing and antics caught my attention as I walked south.
That kennel must be a boon of good eats for the murder. Add a park with lots of good trees with privacy for a nursery and no wonder this flock considers this a prime territory to hold.
On my return trip more of them were out on the west side at the back of the houses and around a pump station Kent had put in.
This part of Frager road is mostly shut to road traffic making it a safe playground for the crows. Frager is one of the original roads along the Green River that used to connect the population of the area. A couple of years ago the city of Kent bought up most of the farms and houses and then closed the roads to traffic making a walking and bicycling trail on both sides of the river.
I leave you with a final picture of a Frager crow and the old guard rail. Notice how it has seen a lot of traffic and probably saved a few cars from going into the drink.
My last two trips around the Duwamish brought me to Harbor Avenue Southwest. Two weeks ago as I walked down the avenue towards Jack Block Park the local crow murder came flying in for a landing.
Those you who follow my crow friends with me know I carry crow food as I walk around. And of course I fed this flock some of the goodies in my bag. They swooped in and enjoyed.
This week, when I started back from the viewing platform at Jack Block Park which is on Harbor Avenue I saw a group of crows behind the fencing. I am almost jealous cause you know I wanted to get closer to the river at T-5.
This is not the first time I have been to this area and I swear they know me. As soon as they saw me they came in droves to follow me around. Could I resist their fondness for me? Instead I talk to them and then throw more peanuts and bread.
Here they are posing for me after that.
The best part was this pair sitting on the light pole. First looking to the left and then to the right. They made a perfect pair of silhouette photos.
This was a sweet interlude during my quest to walk the Duwamish. Crow Stalker finds her friends and crow admirers where ever she goes… even this far from my home crows.
To see all of my Duwamish Adventure I have a directory post that links all of the pieces together. You can find that post here – My Duwamish Adventure Directory