In our local Crowlandia we’re ricocheting between serenity and stress.
Suspense is the name of the game as eggs and hatchlings start to fill the nests.
Most days it’s seems really very peaceful. The crows maintain an uncharacteristic hush behind leafy screens, quietly guarding their nests.
In April, it was possible to see a pair of crows constructing, and then sitting on, a nest high in the poplars from the comfort of my dining room window …
A couple of weeks later and the nest is discreetly hidden by foliage.
I’m pretty sure that this nest belongs to the Firehall Family of crows.
One day earlier this week both of the nesters made a rare double trip down to terra firma for a chat.
Perhaps they were out on a date, although one of them seemed to be feeling the need for a little personal space ….
Eric and Clara are around too. I think their nest is also in the poplars, just a bit to the south of the Firehall nest. It’s not within view of my window and too far up to see from the ground, but Eric is guarding his corner diligently.
A couple of weeks ago there were a few inter-crow skirmishes between Eric and the Firehall gang, presumable sparked by minor breaches of neighbourly conduct.
A detente seems to have been reached lately.
A circumspect hush has fallen over the neighbourhood.
Now that nests are becoming populated, location is an even more closely guarded secret. Energy must be saved for the most important things.
Part of the silence seems due to the absence of some of usual crow enemies at the moment.
The ravens have moved on. I haven’t seen or heard one near here for almost a month now. Also missing: the pair of bald eagles that usually cruise the area at this time of year. Perhaps both ravens and eagles are waiting to hear the quacking of baby crows before they start their “grocery shopping” expeditions.
But there is one sure thing around now that will get the nesting crows to break their silence.
With a vengeance.
Two weeks ago Marvin cawed for an entire day. He was cawing when I got up, before 6am, and he was still at it when dusk fell. Even by crow standards, he was sounding a bit hoarse by then.
The culprit, in both of these incidents, was almost certainly the masked bandit. The tree in which Marvin and Mavis seem to have their nest has been robbed by racoons every spring since I’ve been noticing such things.
Yesterday, on the dog walk, I heard a furious crow, then noticed a small, lollipop-shaped tree in someone’s garden shaking as if in a hurricane.
As it was a windless morning I decided to wait and see what happened next.
Sure enough …
I’m not sure if the raccoon scored any eggs this time. Perhaps Geordie and I interrupted this particular heist, but those clever little hands are very adept at nest robbing. I suppose there are little raccoon kits waiting for lunch somewhere.
Circle of life, and etc …
Marvin is still coming by occasionally for a snack and visit. I imagine Mavis is on the nest, so I’m hoping Marvin is thoughtfully saving some peanuts to take back for her.
On a recent dog walk I heard a crow begging call coming form a cedar tree. It sounded just like a baby crow calling for “food, food, food” — but it’s too early for such noisy youngsters. As I suspected, it was a mother crow, confined to nest duty, calling out to dad to quit lolling about, pondering the meaning of life, and *@#*%! bring her something to eat.
Soon, we will be hearing the ceaseless “quacking” sound of dozens of baby crows, all vying for parental feeding service
For a further preview of things to come, see my 2014 post: DIVE BOMBED BY CROWS
In the meantime, at least when the area is raccoon-free, it’s pretty quiet around here.
But those devoted parents are ever-vigilant. Was that the shadow of an eagle … ?