Posted in Baby Crows

Terrible Twos

In our backyard is a small sideshow from two pairs of twins. One set are a pair of baby crows that their parents left in our yard to fend for themselves. Guess it is time for them to grow up and the parents know it is a safe place with some food and water sources. (see them on the fence in the title photo) The other pair are a pesky set of squirrels. Their mom, who we named Rudy, comes around still. We think she has no control over this pair and they are just running amok in fine squirrel form.

Hence we have the Terrible Twos!!

Crows always come before squirrels. Let me introduce you to this pair of little dickens. This first photo shows them on our fence with a good view of the covered patio where the bird feeder hangs. This area has heavy traffic in it’s covered space by birds, squirrels and other critters.

Crow Twin arrive to look for a snack in our backyard
A motley crew of baby crows
Would you name them Heckle and Jeckle? and which one is which?

As usual they are pretty tough to tell apart so here they are individually. Just a pair of baby crow twins trying to make it in the world without much parent help. Tough love is what the crows do or they will beg forever. This way they just have to figure it out.

This is the older of the two and tends to be more polite.
Here the youngest and goofiest of the twin pair.

One of the things they have figured out is how there is seed in the edge around our patio that is full of river rock. Above this is the bird feeder and lots of folks graze on the ground for the stuff that falls out.

The sly approach making sure no one will catch him.
Rocks have treasures under them!!

This little crow has learned quickly how to dig around in the rocks to get his dinner. Hope you enjoy this short video of his ingenious use of his beak to get to the goodies.

Next we will explore how the two twin pairs cross path. This happened when we threw out some old lunch meat for the crows to eat. Yes we are one of those folks who feed crows stuff. Not like some who do it every day in big piles.  Just do this when I have bad food that I think they will like… like lunch meat!!

What happened was the squirrels were curious about what was so exciting in the grass and one decided to investigate.

Squirrel and Crow worlds collide

To help you with how this meeting really went here is a video of the squirrel on the fence. He had better thoughts about half way down the fence post.  Kind of amazing how he clings to vertical wood.

The standoff continued up on the fence. Crows win in the end
Crow seeks snack in grass while twin looks on
Twin one gets his snack
Twin two wasn’t far behind

The squirrels don’t give up and decide a little rock rooting works for them too. They are not as good at moving rocks but they do get some tid bits out of the rock drainage area.

Rock Rooting is for Squirrels too
Twins share the seed bounty

Where the squirrels excel in bratiness is around a barrel we keep garden weeds and cuttings plus any vegetable scrapes from the kitchen. They have their favorite foods and will pass up several things like tomatos and peppers. However if there is avocado skins or chunks/seeds from squash then they are all over it even before we get up in the morning.

I’m just hanging out!! Nothing wrong here!
Waiting for more goodies to come to the barrel
Twin love around the barrel
Avocado skin licked clean
Hoping for some more goodness on skin!

I will leave you with a video of these two squirrels doing their dance.  Hope you enjoyed the Terrible Twos.

Posted in Birds and other fun topics

Just another Bird and Beach Day

Down at the beach today it was just like nothing had happened. Life went on the day after the most ferocious thunderstorm Seattle has had in decades.  Actually, as a native I have never seen one like this except in Eastern Washington or the Midwest.

So, I went to the beach to see if any trees were blown over by the deluge with fierce lightning & thunder last night. Besides the trail being swept clean by it turning into a creek it was just another day at the beach.

It is common to see a Blue Heron on the beach.  Today my first sight was a pair on the same beach. When one flew away to the north due to a dog coming along I noticed it was actually three of them. Wonder if one was a baby out for a day with his parents. Did not get a good enough view to know if I am right.

Two Blue Herons on my beach! Score!!

Plus with the herons were gulls and ducks. Just a big old party for everyone. This photo below has the ducks launching themselves into the surf. They take turns doing this like they have a pecking order or at least a plan.

Heron, Gull and Ducks all sharing the beach.

The closest heron took to the sky and decided that landing on a boat would be safer than sticking it out with all the human activity on the beach.

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I continued on down the beach and came across a pair of Song Sparrows. I noticed them because one flushed up into the blackberries. Check out how hard it is to see them since they are camouflaged to blend in with the sand, driftwood and brush.

Can you see the little sparrow?

The clue is he is up behind the drift wood – look to the left of the two white rocks. Nature at her best hiding right in front of us. How about a little closer look next?

Now you can see the Song Sparrow!

He is grubbing around for bugs in the sand. In the next photo you can see his plumage but also how his beak sort of blends in with the background. I think it is because the sand is clinging to it.

Song Sparrow foraging at the beach on Puget Sound

Then there is this unlikely pair further south on the beach. A Blue Heron on a log with a Gull hanging out nearby.  I did not really notice the gull at first or rather rudely disregarded him. Here is the heron first. Look close and you can see him mid log.

Blue Heron just hanging out

Then lets get a closer look. Sad to say my really close up shots were not satisfactory so these two shots are the best we got. I always hope for a eyeball to eyeball type of zoom shot. Not today!

Zoomed in a bit closer now
Close up of the Blue Heron hanging out on the log

How about some buddy time now. The gull seems to be unfazed by the bigger bird. I would think he would be nervous but the heron must not be a threat to the gull or they are just buddies.

Gull just hanging out. Bet he wishes his Heron friend would drop a fish

Next see how close they were to each other.

Heron & Gull just hanging out

The video below not only shows the gull not budging as the heron jumps down but gives you a view of how the beach is not a flat static place. It has a lot of movement with the tide flowing in and of course the birds doing their thing.

I would be remiss in not having some crow fun today. I went over to a raised area on the beach and fed them some peanuts. This adult was more than happy to oblige me with his presence.

Crow contemplating the beauty of the peanut.
Peanut seized!

A baby crow was watching from an upper rail. I wasn’t sure at first that he was a youngster but when he opened his mouth, I knew for sure. Not only was he still using that begging baby crow caw but he had a pink mouth.

Baby or not? Or just molting?
Tis the season for molting but he did give me a cute sideways look. This innocent glance made me wonder on how old he was
There it is … the pink mouth – He is a BABY!

I have to note that the baby crow photos were taken with my new (used) camera. I found a replacement for my pocket size Cannon Elph. The old one I killed it several months ago while driving the Seattle Viaduct the last time. This weekend at one of my estate sale adventures I found it for only 20 bucks!!  That included a 8 GB memory card, the charger and an extra battery.  Score!!

Hope you found this “just another day at the beach” relaxing.

Posted in Baby Crows

My Baby Dearest

Ahhh – a mother’s love for her baby. This crow family is no different than humans. They love their families and want only best for their kids.

Watch this mom clean up her whining baby. He wants a snack but mom wants to rid the little rascal of dirt and fluff his growing feathers.

This tale of crow family life began with my hearing the Momma, Momma Baby Crow Caw. Looking up I noticed them on the wire next to the Fauntleroy Preschool.

Mom and Baby hanging out on wire together

I found a good spot across the street. The edge of the sidewalk was lined with bamboo in a raised bed. I sat on the edge of that to get some stability for my photography and got this next shot zoomed in.

Just a little closer

Then I got into some serious zoomed shots and a short video. My favorite of the series is the one with mom’s open beak grooming and baby crying for food. Just a mom and her baby interacting!

With that I leave you with the photos and the video – enjoy this baby crow moment in the middle of your busy human life.

Cute Baby Crow Face – see the telltale poochy corner of his mouth
Baby dear let me cuddle you.
My favorite photo of mom loving baby up
Then they alerted to another crow’s warning of danger
Ah mom – will you knock it off – I am so embarrassed.
See Mom – I can do it myself!!

 

 

Posted in Crows at the Beach

Crow Pool at a Glance

My current favorite spot on the beach deserves a moment in the lime light. Come with me to discover it’s wonderful beaches.

Fauntleroy Creek comes out into the sand and driftwood of Puget Sound right next to the Ferry Dock for the West Seattle to Vashon Island run. Before it joins the sound it parallels the bigger beach creating the famous crow pool and animal beaches.

It is a popular destination for crow families and a few other species. The crows are the main attraction and usually have a ready team of life guards on duty.

Crow Club watching over the pool

Using my best ability to determine who is who in this gang, I am guessing most are male crows. It is their hang out while the moms feed and try to corral the babies. The girls fly in periodically with the whining little ones in tow to this safe zone the boys are guarding.

Guarding the pool is serious business

Let us now highlight the pool itself. The creek flows along between the logs and actually has three distinct beaches. Check out the lay of the land before we go into each pool.

Fauntleroy Creek creates several beaches and bathing pools

The favored pool is at the top of the picture. It is the most secure area and it is the favored area. The lifeguard crows are always vigilant around this one. Conveniently it has a natural lifeguard shack that an observer can use to watch over the antics.

Pool Crow Guard

Check out this crow going in for a dip at the main pool.

It is not a shadow but rather a crow bather

The main pool is pretty special with a bit of greenery and a sloping beach down to the water.

Closer look the Main Crow Pool

Check out how the sand gently slopes down – easy access for all birds

A few logs and a bit to the north is the middle pool. This is basically an overflow area for when the main beach gets crowded. That can happen when the whole murder want to have a dip or drink. In my counts of this flock I estimate it is around 50 individuals.

Mid pool – not as secure by still has good beach access

Then we have the third beach. This is a bit more north towards the dock and where my viewing area is just at the edge of the dock. The photo below is what it looks like in my spot. It is out of the sun and a bit secretive so the crows will not be bothered by the my observations of them.

My viewing area slightly under the ferry dock. The Crow pool is to the left of this shot.

The last beach I call the Other Species Beach. This was where I found the gimpy duck and other little birds who want a drink. I have noticed quite a few pigeons here too. Like the crows the pigeons feed on all the human food left behind. Plus they have a perfect place to hang out up in the rafters of the dock.

The Other Species Pool/Beach

Hope you learned a little bit more about this lovely place in nature called “the Crow Pool”.

Posted in Crows at the Beach

Gimpy Duck at Crow Pool

Gimpy birds seems to find me or do I just find them?  No matter they intrigue me with their tenacity and sheer will to live in a world that is not kind to one leggedness.

While I was hanging out at the Crow Pool this week I noticed a little duck.  I was enjoying some beach time, counting crows in this murder and in general watching them enjoy the pool. Closer to where I sat was a duck who was struggling to get out of the creek’s current. It is a little bit of an incline to climb but most birds just hop right up no problem.

Upon closer inspection I realized this ducklett (yes it was a juvenile duck) had a bad leg.  I mean a really bad leg. It seemed to be either deformed or somehow injured.  It was red and obviously made walking really difficult.

Gimpy Duck at creek

After taking a couple of photos I retreated to my position which is far enough away to not disturb the resident crows nor this little duck. From my spot I could watch the action but not interrupt their behavior.

The crows came over to bath and hang out just like normal. One came over to where the little duck was and she gave a little quack awaking from her sun nap.  However, the crow just skirted her and then walked down the beach to the stream. Then he came back and eyed her. In return she did a little silent quack. They must have known each other and just co-exist there at the pool.

That was Saturday afternoon and being a little worried that I would find her dead or disappeared I came back on Sunday. Up by the creek there was no sign of her except the rumpled sand where she had been laying. No feathers or bodies stuck along the bank either. I was relieved but still worried.

My next step was to go find the resident duck flock that I had seen several times under the dock. Found them hanging out where the creek flowed out to the north of the dock.

Ducks at mouth of Fauntleroy Creek

To my delight there was our gimpy duck. I was sure now she was a teenager. She was surrounded by her family of siblings and parent.

In the surf is easier than on land for this young gimpy duck

While I watched the youngster drug herself up to the adult. She was feeding off the small particles and creatures in the surf and creek water.

Gimpy duck close to parent

This video will give you a good idea of her disability.  What determination to survive!

After all this work our family of ducks including gimpy settled in for a sunny nap at the shoreline. Since gimpy birds are easy to tell from other of thier kind, I will keep checking on her.  Stay tuned on what I find or don’t find.

Time for a nap at the beach

 

Posted in Crows at the Beach

Crow Pool Rules

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?

Pool Crow Guards

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.

Towel off time after bathing

Crow looks wet and scruffy after his dip at the pool

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.

Crows hangout at Fauntleroy Creek.

Close up of crow gang

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.

Group of Crows enjoying the fresh water of Fauntleroy Creek

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.

Crow interaction over when and who can use the Pool.

 

Posted in Birds and other fun topics

Day at the beach with the Crows

Lovely day in Seattle down at the Ferry Dock that goes between Vashon Island and Fauntleroy on the Seattle side. On the south side of the dock the Fauntleroy creek meets Puget Sound. Depending on the tide it meanders next or under the giant dock.

Today’s adventure finds crows bathing and some star fish clinging to the pilings.  Lets go take a peek.

This piece of beach has a small crow murder (aka flock) that own all the goodness that falls from the ferry terminal. It is also a great place because of the fresh water the creek provides for drinking and bathing. I have written several posts about them frolicking around the creek and beach.  Here is one on Crow Cleanliness

Today was just as enchanting with them bathing in the flowing creek all together.

The dock draws us all – birds, water creatures and humans

Group of Crows enjoying the fresh water of Fauntleroy Creek

A still photo does not do this justice like a video. I have to note that YouTube did not like my first title which was Murder bathing together. Thought it was clever to use the crow flock word but the sensors did not. Had to rename it before I could publish it publicly.  Kind of reassuring that they are watching after how bad people have used the site for very awful things.

Before I caught the group getting all wet this single crow did his thing all alone.

Private bath time for this crow

The dock had it’s own drama. The pilings hold up all the cars waiting for the ferry. They march down the beach into the water.  Here is an emergency ladder that we doubt has been used in a long time.

Ladder at ferry dock in West Seattle.

The tide was out and several starfish were clinging to the pilings above the water line.

Purple and Orange Starfish cling to ferry dock piling

See what I mean about the pilings marching into the surf? How about a closer look at the starfish?

Starfish locked together

Even closer you can see their roughness and how one has two arms that are more skeleton looking. Not sure what is going on & my quick research did not explain it.

Two Starfish on ferry dock piling

Enjoy your summer by looking for adventure and new things where ever you go.

Posted in Crows at the Beach

Crow Britches

Britches?  What are those and do crows have them?

The definition for Britches is a bit of a history lesson in clothing.

  • Britches definition according to Merriam Webster is:   Breeches, Trousers – they were first used in 1571
  • What are breeches? Their definition is: short pants covering the hips and thighs and fitting snugly at the lower edges at or just below the knee. – They were first called this in the 12th century.

Here is a picture of old to help you visualize what they look like. Now review the picture above and see how that crow has feathers to his knees and then skinny legs below?  Just like he was wearing these short pants!

Have you heard these phrases?

  • Too big for your britches.
  • Hold onto your britches

Now you know what they mean and they too date back a couple centuries.

Enjoy another good look at Crow Britches and a short video of the crow looking for lunch in the low tide seaweed.  You can get an even better look at this Crow’s Breeches/Britches.

Crow at the beach showing off his feathered britches
Crow at the beach showing off his feathered britches