After five years of sharing my experiences with the world I had a retrospective moment looking back on my most popular posts. I wanted my blog children to be popular after working so hard on them. The ones you think are super-duper are often not the ones that skyrocket to the top. Instead some sleepy post comes out of nowhere and just keeps on giving. Then there are the posts that are huge flashes in the pan but do not have the staying power.
Going back in time…. here are the top five. Lets see if you are as surprised as I am.
#5 – 6 Baby Crows Crying – we begin with a 2011 post about a walk around my neighborhood echoing with the cry of baby crows. Not a lot of photos but this post got 308 people to learn more about baby crows. Baby Time
#4 – Crow Pellet – leave it to an icky subject like bird throw up to be on my top list. A sunny day at the beach a crow coughed up this thing and I took a picture. A little research later I found out it was called a pellet and then wrote this blog that got 514 looks. Go check out Crow Throw-up
#3 – Crows – Ravens Halloween – at 586 hits how can you go wrong writing about black crows and the scary holiday of Halloween. Check out all the bad omens associated with our black beauties. What an image they have! Surprise to all they actually are thought to be the creator and the destroyer. Can you match that? crow legends
#2 – Crow Stalker and Amanda Knox Paparazzi – no matter if you call it a fancy word like Paparazzi, it is still a form of Stalking. It was happening right here in my West Seattle neighborhood, international paparazzi looking for Amanda Knox when she was released from jail in Italy. This was heralded in October of 2011 with media helicopters and traffic jams. On my Sunday walks looking for crow photo opportunities I stumbled upon them sleeping, watching and hanging out by her mother’s house. I started calling myself Crow Stalker after I accused them of stalking her and they said I was doing the same thing to my beloved crows. This first post got 927 number of views in a short couple of months. The followup post recieved 161 views. Here are the links to both of them.
#1 – Its Molting Time – Crows, Herons & Madrona Trees – this post has the most staying power of all with 1,444 views. It was conceived in the fall fo 2011 and every week someone reads it. I think it is the madrona trees molting that catches the traffic. They are a very special tree that molt at the same time as the birds I follow at the beach. But then again it could be the crows who sure don’t look black and shiny when in molt. Its Molting Time – my #1 viewed post
I want to thank my readership for all their input and support. My Top Five is a testament to you.
Mr. King Crow showed up today at the beach bread feeding. The flock was feasting on some waffles that got stuck in the waffle iron. You know that messy thing that happens when you open the iron too soon and it rips apart.
So, I was feeding them these waffle parts and everyone was having a good time. Along comes Mr I am in Charge Crow who I quickly named “King Crow”. He flew in with a vengeance and chased a medium size crow who had a mouth full of bread. He didn’t succeed in stealing any but the rest of the flock scattered leaving him a wide area of open rock beach between him and them. That was when he stood there & did his big cawing display of power. In the human world we call these types “Assholes”.
What was he really trying to do here? I have a couple of theories; the obvious but probably not really the important one was he wanted the food for himself. Rather it was a show of who will be in control of the beach flock during the mating and nesting season. The reason I think this is because during the large winter roost period this type of display was observed rarely. Going back to when the little ones were starting to get out of the nest there were two or three of these big Crows pushing everyone around. Over the next couple of months I will keep a better watch on this than last year. Then we can see if I was right about my theory.
For those that like to see more drama, here is a short video I took of Mr. King Crow. Not my best piece but you can see a little more of him.
Amanda Knox Update – no more sightings to be had in Southwest Seattle. She moved to the International District close to downtown Seattle with her new boyfriend. Real quiet now around her Dad’s and Grandmother’s houses when I walk by there on my crow adventures.
This weeks I was given a grand show by a Pileated Woodpecker. Remember Woody Woodpecker? If you do then you know what they look like; red crest with a black and white body. Known as the third largest woodpecker in North America they make a striking pose when you see them. You might hear them first with a screech that takes you back to cave man times. Yes I almost expect to see a dinosaur around the corner after hearing that sound.
When you hear them drumming on a tree they are not only looking for insects but they are marking out their territory. Like Crows they have a territory and they defend it for sure. It is much bigger in size than the Crows plus they don’t really like each other. That is except their mates who they marry for life.
This particular bird was chowing down on madrona tree berries. I have to wonder if they haven’t started to rot and ferment which would lead to drunk birds. That is a pretty funny sight when it happens. Lastly, I know he is a boy because of the bigger red comb on top and a red streak on his face.
The Crows this week are still in big flocks that when I throw bread become bigger and bigger groups as they tell their friends and relatives that the smorgasbord is open. They followed me from the beach up to the Peanut House. Must be around 35 or 40 of them. Certainly more social than the Woodpecker I saw all by his lonesome in the woods.
For those that are Amanda Knox info hungry. Still no sign of the paparazzi in the neighborhood. Guess she is old news till her book comes out.
Crow families are a lot like us humans. When old man winter blows into town they stay close to home. They get together into their bigger family groups and hang out close to the best feeding spots in their territories. That might be a beach area or a family that feeds them. They might even have more than one honey hole feeding spot. When they go in group to another place within their home range they will leave a guardian. Then if another crow family invades or if food is doled out that guard crow can put out the call for all to come on home.
This last week I checked out my crow families in the area. For those that like data here are the spots and counts I took.
Marine View Drive & 114th – 6 members including my gimpy crow Ellie
Peanut House on 35th – apx 40 – it was high tide. When it is low tide they usually only have one or two here. Great example of a Murder with two honey holes.
Our House – every morning our neighbor starts the day with peanuts to Mocha’s family. Then my husband gives them bread. apx 10 members in our home group. Like the Peanut house they leave a guard crow when they travel away.
104th & 41st – small family of 3
Roxhill Garden – apx 30 members. This must be a great honey hole & that is why the numbers are so great. They also range into Roxhill Park where there is lots of tender handouts. Again, guards are posted around the key areas. Easy to see them since it is more urban next to the school with light poles and buildings to hang out on.
30th & 104th – small group of 3 hanging out next to the swampy drainage area that this street turns into.
31st & 106th – another small family with 2 members
That is well over 100 crows in a couple of square miles that I have observed. One has to figure there are at least twice that. Or am I fooling myself since they all look-alike. That’s right, we can’t tell them apart but they sure remember who we are.
Final Note on another subject – The Amanda Knox paparazzi seem to have disappeared or made themselves very thin. Makes one pretty happy that they are not bugging her family like crazy locust any more.
They are still hanging out in our neighborhood watching, waiting & hoping for a sighting of Amanda.
I can spot them pretty easy now. A car idling with someone sitting in it a block of so of Mom’s house. Yesterday, I drove to the store and on my way noticed the little car with the big guy. Like last time, I give them the benefit of the doubt that they might belong to the house they are sitting in front of. (a different street and house than last time) I planned to use my same tactic and upon my return home see if he is still lurking.
So, I planned my trip home carefully. I got my little camera out of my purse at the stop light and approached so I would be on the same street as the paparazzi. The Crow Stalker has learned a little from the last time and a photo of the photographers would a good rebuttal to their behaviour.
Here I go… down the street and there is the car still there. I pull up along side and roll down my passenger window. This is a different guy and I ask innocently….”Whatcha ya doing?”. His answer was pretty straight forward. “I’m working for a Photo Agency.”. He asked me if I live in the house he is in front of. I said no and teased him about being another Professional Stalker. Next, I said that I was writing in my blog about the Amanda Paparazzi. Then I took his picture and said I was going to post it. He remarkably said “That is Cool”.
Here you go everyone… this is the face of International Paparazzi right here in our West Seattle Neighborhood. How long will this go on? Seems innocent but it is troubling indeed. What are your thoughts fellow neighbors?
Today for my Sunday outing where I gather info for the Crows of Arroyos Blog I decided to walk to the store and get a few things we needed. Last week on the same route I was delighted to see the Crows at the Roxhill School Garden. One of them had a crooked beak and that gave me a great article. So, I figured I would swing by there again.
As I walked towards Westwood Village in Southwest Seattle, I travel down a street that I am 99% sure Amanda Knox’s mother lives on. I found this out the day Amanda came home from being acquited in Italy because the news media had a helicopter floating over our neighborhood live streaming video plus hordes of reporters on the ground. Pretty easy to figure out where they live watching News at 5 since I walk these streets regularly.
Today I fed the crows along the way with bread and watched for interesting activity. Never in my wildest dreams figured the human race would be the interesting activity. As I got about a half block from Grandma’s house I noticed a small white car parked on the side of the road idling. And a person reclining in the driver’s seat. Hmm… maybe he is waiting for his girlfriend or a party happened here last night I thought.
Oh no… as I got further down the block I turned around and there was a second guy now out of the other car talking to the reclining guy. That was when it dawned on me they were waiting for an Amanda Knox sighting.
That gave me a spooky feeling of what that must be like to be stalked by Paparazzi. The local media has all agreed to withdraw but the international press is still hot for photos of her. One feels for the family and almost violated as well since this is our neighborhood too.
Anyway, I went to the store and got the shopping done. Admired the new Nook at Barnes & Nobles on my journey, thinking it might be the way to go for Christmas. The crows at Roxbury School Garden were there but no crooked beak again. A Crow topic blow out.
Then on my way home I see the same two cars parked in the same spot. As I walked by one of the guys was out talking to the other again. I said “Whatcha up to?” even though I had it pretty much figured out. They proceeded to tell me they were making a living. I teased them they were “Professional Stalkers” and they teased me back that I was a “Crow Stalker”. While I was watching them they were watching me earlier. Guess it is pretty boring sitting in a car waiting & waiting.
Next they said they had given the family their cards and were invited to a BBQ last night over there. One of the guys started showing me his photos and said he had made over 200k on them. OMG no wonder they sit in cold cars for hours but it was like they were justifying their being. And did they really get invited into the house? One has to wonder.
Still think it isn’t a very cool thing – no matter if you call it a fancy word like Paparazzi, it is still a form of Stalking.