Posted in Crows on the Road

Crow Gunk

Sticky Beak Crow Boy
Sticky Beak Crow Boy

What the heck got on this crow’s beak?  From a distance I thought he might have some disease. When I got home and looked at this zoomed picture you can see it is sticky.  A piece of grass or pine needle is even stuck to it.

What was this little guy digging in?  He acted like a youngster so perhaps he put his nose in someplace he shouldn’t.   He and his family are only a block from the Arbor Heights Elementary which is being demolished.  Is it construction gunk?

One more thing –  see how this crow’s neck feathers are still in molt mode.  Kind of distressed and thin makes him look even more unkempt.

Posted in Crows on the Road

Crow Nutcracker

Smart is the word for this crow who is working hard to crack a nut.   I took a video of him landing on the wires and dropping the nut.  He actually got it to crack open.  Towards the end you can hear a loud bong sound.  That is his using a Jeep’s hood to achieve more impact on that nut.   He got all shy on me then and stopped coming down.   Here is a still photo of his hard work which I am sure he came and retrived once I left.

Crow nut cracking yielded success!
Crow nut cracking yielded success!
Posted in Crows on the Road

Crows playing in the Wind

A stormy day in Seattle gave the crows some fun today.  The flock was hanging out in the tall evergreen trees at Seola Park because the tide was high leaving them no beach or  tidal grass to graze on.

As I walked down the road to the hairpin corner where Marine View Drive becomes 35th SW I could see them playing with each other by diving and soaring on the turbulence.   Some of the group started begging for goodies.   Once I got to the corner I obliged them with bread and peanuts.  It was a feeding frenzy which some dog walkers didn’t seem to approve of.

Enjoy the aerobatics!!

Posted in Crows on the Road

39th Street Banded and Gimpy Crows

39th Street Southwest has two banded crows and two gimpy ones.   Today I got the pleasure of seeing three of these four birds.   Remember back to my discussion about crow recognition?   That is next to impossible without any major determining characteristic.   This is why I keep track of the banded and gimpy crows because it is very clear who they are and what their territories are.  First here is the crow that hangs out close to MVD and 39th SW.   He is still pretty shy of me and I had to hide behind some bushes after putting the bread out.  His partner wasn’t shy at all but he waited till my back was turned.

Banded crow with green blue bands – the shy one

Next comes the gimpy crow hanging out on a roof and a car.   Her foot is pretty bad unlike the other one on 39th who uses the bad leg as a prop.  This bird is a ballerina of sorts on one leg.

Good shot of Gimpy Crows bad foot.

Lastly, the other banded crow on 39th started following me from about 105th to 102nd.  He was not shy about getting his share of the bread and I got some good pictures of his bands.   Enjoy!

Banded Crow with White band around 39th & 102nd.
Banded crow with white bands – good shot because he isn’t shy of me
Posted in Crows on the Road

Banded Crow #2

In my walk today I ran across another banded crow.   Here is a picture to document him.   He was just off Barton Ave SW and 31st SW.   Pretty sure not the same one that frequents 107th but I need to look at the bands more closely.

Banded Crow on 31st Ave SW
Banded Crow – blue/green and red/green/silver on 107th SW
Posted in Crows on the Road

Roxhill Crooked Beak – spotted again

Good News today, the crooked beak crow I wrote about back in October of last year over at Roxbury (Roxhill) Elementary School is still around.   I was feeding the flock that hangs out at the little school garden and there he was on the wire.  I like to keep a record of identifiable crows for two reasons.  One it helps us understand their territories and life spans.  Second, since the ones I can ID are often handicapped it is interesting to see how they actually get along for years.   Not the best picture today because I didn’t have my better zoom camera but you can see how his lower bill is out of proportion.

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Here is the post if you want to read about that  first sighting.  http://wp.me/p1d1cX-a5      Check out the beak of the old photos and this series.  Today’s sighting looks like the top bill is broken off but the distance of the bird could be the top is hidden.  Same crow or not here is another example of a crooked beak.       

Posted in Crows at the Beach, Crows on the Road

An Eagle and two gimpy Crows

Eagle surveying the beach
Yellow Spring Tree Buds and an Eagle watching the beach

Spring was in the air and an eagle was perched in a tree at the beach sunning himself.  The yellow leaf buds make a good contrast to his black and white plumage.

Now for the two gimpy crows.   One is Ellie up on Marine View Drive.  Got a good photo shot of her balancing on one leg.   The second is the guy with a rock stuck to his claw.   I got a couple good closeups this time of his foot and this rock or piece of wood on it.   He seems kind of scrawny but at least he is still around making a living.  Hope it falls off one of these days soon.

Dancing on one foot on Marine View Drive
Gimpy crow Ellie with a beak full of bread
Check out this crows foot with the rock stuck on it. Been there at least a month.
Good view of the rock on toe.
Posted in Baby Crows, Crows on the Road

First Crow Nest of the Season

This weekend while doing my shopping on Saturday I kept seeing crows with sticks.   A sure sign of nest building.

Then today I hit the jackpot on my walk.   There was a crow with a beak full of sticks and grass.   He landed on the power pole and I got this photo of him/her.

Crow with mouth full of nest material checking to be sure no one sees him building

Then I watched as he flew into a pine tree next door to this great house on Marine View Drive.  This house was featured in the local newspaper back in 2008.  The owners bought a small older home and built this architectural wonder.  My new-found crow family has good taste in where to build their nursery this year.

Next I walked around the block and took a picture of the tree from the back of the house.  From MVD this tree looks really dense but from this view it looks a little sparse.   Time will tell if this becomes the final build.

Back yard view of Pine tree where nest is under construction.

Marine View Drive is a busy street with no sidewalks so I carefully walked back around to the front of the house and found a safe place to stand and observe.   Not only was it off the street but my spot was behind a bushy tree that gave me cover to hide from the crow builder.   Don’t like to scare them off by my snapping pictures.

First Nest of the year in the Pine tree next to a designer house.

They were flying around having fun with the rest of their family and being rather coy so the bigger group didn’t see them building.   While one of them was stuffing the nest, his mate was down on a wire overlooking the sound.   Check out the view they will have from their new home.  Not only have they picked one of the nicest houses in the hood but they have the best view too.

Not only is their nest in a tree next to a fabulous house but the view is outstanding for raising baby crows.
Posted in Birds and other fun topics, Crows at the Beach, Crows on the Road

Beach Crows & Towhee on the Trail

Trail Family in the Madronas

Crow Families are continuing to form up.   Here is a good picture of a pair that is frequenting the madronas on the trail to the beach.   Last year this madrona forest had two families raising baby crows.   One had a dud nest or a predator did the nasty on the baby.   The other family got the baby to adulthood.

My observations continue this spring to determine if there ae two families or just one larger one.   When I fed them on my return trip up the trail, there was 5 family members joining in.  That could be two pairs with a helper or it could be a pair with three helpers.   Time will tell as I keep track of them each week.

Last couple of weeks I have been a little worried about my gimpy crow Ellie.  She hasn’t been around and I worried that she had been pushed out of her territory by a breeding pair.  She and her family have staked out a house that feed them on MVD.  There is a short dense fir tree across the street from the feeding house that she likes to get into.  It gives her balance for her one leg.   Today I saw her on the wires and she got down on the pavement to get a peanut and some bread.  Made me a lot happier to see her there.  This demonstrates that crow families have just as many dynamics as we do.  The young breeding family, older aunts, uncles,  and grandparents and of course the youngsters.  Here is her picture hanging out on the wire with no problems from her gimpy leg.

Ellie on the wire doing a great balancing act with her gimpy leg.

On the trail I also got some good views of a Spotted Towhee.  Over the years I have heard them in the bushes calling to each other.  They are a member of the sparrow family but look like a Robin.  Similar  looking with red flanks and dark wings.   They have white dots on their wings, white chests and are smaller or the same size with a longer tail.   Here is a picture of one with his red eyes giving me a don’t get closer look as I try to take his picture.

Towhee staring at me through the branches

Down on the beach I was able to capture a picture of the crow with bare knees I spotted last week.   She caught my attention because she has knees that looked worn and light color.   She might have had avian pox which attacks the non-feathered areas of birds and this could be the resulting scar tissue.   Several years ago one of our yard’s young crows David named Baby Mox had it on his face and legs.   It is very nasty looking but he did survive.

Beach Family Crow with bare knees

Lastly the doll that I found months ago continues to have some bad luck.  Her head is now missing. Either someone took her home or she was thrown out into the surf.   What an odd thing someone will find where ever she washes up on the beach.   This just confirms my suspicion that it was pranksters who broke her up rather than the beach clean up crew.

Headless doll who doesn't have to worry about her bad hair day any longer