Bongo News

As I mentioned in yesterday’s post about the Walkers, there has been some friction on the Bongo-Walker borderline.

Bella and Bongo’s fledglings are very mobile now and prone to showing off their new flying prowess by cruising all over the neighbourhood, often landing too close to the chimney nest for the Walkers’ comfort.

Much parental cawing ensues.

Bongo and Bella staring down the Walkers after a bit of a territorial conflict yesterday …

In the next video, you will note that Bella makes a more “normal” rattle call and Bongo chimes in with his signature bong call. I assume that the “bong” is his own idiosyncratic interpretation of “rattle.” Anyway, Bella gives him quite the look afterwards — whether admiring, or confused, it’s hard to say …


Someone asked me if I thought any of Bongo’s fledglings might take after him, bonging-wise. I don’t know how these things are passed on, but I do know that one of the fledglings is already showing signs of being a vocal virtuoso.

You can see that this one has a lot to say and is already starting to make the bowing motion that is part of the overall rattle/bong performance.

Clearly, this one is the chatterbox of the family!

The Bongo clan seems now to be down to two fledglings. It’s hard to be certain with them flying around so much. Up until yesterday evening when these videos were taken, I was almost sure there was only one — so number three could potentially still be out there flying around the neighbourhood.

As you can see, the Bongettes are showing signs of becoming teen crows. Their blue eyes are now a lovely soft grey. Their parents are already showing them how to pick up their own food, rather than always shovelling it into their beaks via the direct deposit method.

Grey eyes instead of blue, but the pink beak colouring will last all summer and sometimes longer.

I’ve had an amazing couple of weeks following the progress of the Bongo-Bella babies and have amassed quite a collection of photos.

One of my favourite phases was the rose garden period where flowery garden fences seemed to be their preferred hangouts. Their eyes were still blue at that point.

The next image — in which  baby crowses supposes that roses is … food?  — is such a favourite that I made it into a print for my shop.

Rose Garden

All baby crows spend a whole summer sampling all manner of things — wood chips, moss, bits of paper, their own feathers — trying to figure out the all- important “Is It Food Or Is It Not Food?” question. I imagine rose petals could fall tantalizingly between categories.

I’ve also made a set of Baby Crow postcards, some of which feature the Bongo babies (along with some of White Wing’s and others in the neighbourhood this spring.)

Never a dull moment at this time of year. I’ve noticed both the Wings and the Bongos chasing squirrels up and down trees at a rate that could have them auditioning for the next movie in the Fast and Furious franchise. On the other hand, I also noticed this squirrel chasing some of Bongo and Bella’s fledglings; hard to say if with malevolent purpose or just for fun.

Possibly a juvenile squirrel messing around with a fledgling crow — a full mischief bundle!

It’s a tiring time of year for crow parents, leaving so little time for Bongo’s operatic offerings, but hopefully, he is managing to pass along some of that talent to the next generation of potentially bonging crows.

Who knows, maybe they’ll go in their own direction and take up pinging or chicken impersonations like the crow up the road. Each crow must find their unique path to creative fulfilment, after all.

I leave the last word to this vocal up and comer …



For more on Bongo and Bella:

The Colour of Crows

Crows and ravens are generally (and understandably) described as birds with black plumage. It is their darkness that allows them to grace the sky with such striking calligraphy.

Formal sentences composed on wires; more fluid, improvisational characters when taking to the air.

crow dance

But it’s so much more complicated, and beautiful, than that.

Feather collage

Crow and raven feathers are highly iridescent. They collect and reflect the light and the colour of the world around them. Gunmetal storm clouds, cornflower blue summer skies, the fire of the rising or setting sun — all paint their feathers with fleeting shades of indigo, lavender, copper and gold.

Copper Dawn Crow

Dawn crow, gilded

George with Luminous Feathers

George, with his eye on the sky … and the sky reflected in his feathers

Vera Reflecting garden

Crow takes flight from birdbath

These reflected shades are often featured in my photography and jewellery, so I think of, and marvel at, corvid hues often.

Raven pendant

Raven pendant

Sometimes I wonder, idly, about how many colours you could actually find in a crow or a raven’s feathers.

Imagine my surprise when a computer glitch answered my question.

I recently downloaded a batch of photos taken of a crow (Vera) in my garden. I use software called Bridge to organize my images. It allows me to see the images from my camera in thumbnail size, like an old fashioned contact sheet. It’s handy to see at a glance what’s there and do a quick edit.

Bridge capture2

I was amazed to see that some of the Vera images had been randomly translated by Bridge into, part normal photo, and part digital sampling of the colours in the photo.

Crow Colour Abstract

Vera’s plumage of many colours

At a glance, I see lavender, lilac, violet, mauve, periwinkle, indigo, charcoal, forest green, sand, pearl, slate — hardly any black, in fact.

It was an ephemeral glitch, but I managed to “capture” a couple of versions.

Crow Colours abstract

Quasi-scientific proof that a crow is not just a black bird.

Young crow in the sun

logo with crow