I heard the softest begging sounds of baby crows coming from White Wing’s nest this week — the first of the year! The Wings are always quick out of the nesting gate, and they seem to be in the lead again this spring.
White Wing disappeared as usual in April to go and sit on the nest and has been popping out more frequently over the last couple of weeks since the eggs hatched.
She usually performs a vigorous stretching routine when she emerges, as I imagine it’s getting ever more cramped in there as the nestlings grow.
The first time I caught the hint of crow baby gurgles, White Wing was watching me and surprised me with one of her rare “woof” calls …
… followed by another stretch.
The only other time I’ve heard her make the “woof” (with a soulful cat finale on that occasion) was a couple of years ago at about this time of year.
I wonder if it’s a special call to the hatchings — or perhaps she’s making a novel sound to divert the easily distractible human (squirrel!!!) from the tell-tale little quorking sounds emanating from the nest.
Or perhaps she’s just been whiling away the long hours sitting on the eggs working on some new “songs.”
The Wings are occasionally seen out of the nest together now — only for a brief few moments and then back to feed the hungry beaks …
You can see and hear White Wing’s woof-meow call on my YouTube channel HERE >>
Some days you lug your camera and long lens over hill and dale” just in case” of ravens. — and never see a single one.
Some days you know they’re there by the distant calls (which can sound a tiny bit like laughter at your expense.)
Some days you wake up at dawn in your hotel room to hear a single raven call right outside your window. You fall out of bed and fumble in the dark to find your eye glasses and then the camera. Stumbling over luggage in the direction of the sound, you see The Raven Of The Lake striding majestically by and manage to take a few frames so you know later that you didn’t imagine it.
Some days you take a photo of a raven when 75% asleep through a dewy bug-screened window and you kind of love it for the magical dream feeling.
Just a quick update on the Walkers, as I know a lot of you are concerned about him.
It’s been a worrying week ever since I noticed Mr. Walker’s badly damaged eye on Monday. In recent days it was hard to get any good view of how his eye was looking as he and Wanda remained sitting very quietly in the high branches.
This was as close as I could get to them yesterday morning.
By yesterday evening they seemed a little more relaxed and Mr. Walker came down for some peanuts and seemed to be enjoying the late afternoon sun.
Wanda spent a long time preening herself and, in doing so, gave me a flash of pink —which I assume is her brood patch for incubating the eggs. I’m sure she was ready to start sitting on the nest when Mr. Walker’s eye problem started and I’m not sure what the status of that nest is now.
This morning was kind of amazing as Mr. Walker, for the first time in over a week, came down to his favourite tree. There was no walking to get to it, but the fact that he was watching me and seemed to remember the old routine was a good sign, I thought.
I managed to get a rather blurry shot of him making off with his loot and his eye looks a lot better in this particular photo.
In other photos I took a few minutes later his eye looked quite closed, so I’m really not sure whether he’ll get his vision back or if he’ll just have to learn to adapt, like Wanda. At least I don’t think it looks infected, or getting worse.
It’s hard to get good photos of his bad eye as he keeps showing me his “good” side — not so much out of vanity, but because he can see me from that side.
Although when he starts playing peep-o I wonder if he is trying to hide his injured eye, like a post-cosmetic surgery movie star …
Keeping tabs on the Walkers has meant I’ve meandered up and down “their” block countless times over the last week. Back and forth, down the alley, up the front street and back down again, hoping to catch sight of them. Poor Geordie is now balking at the repetition, having smelled every single smell on that block dozens of times.
We always do walk the same few streets every day to keep updated on the news of several crow families —and you’d think this would get boring but, in many ways, the more closely you explore a single area, the more you start to see.
In narrowing down our travels almost exclusively to the Walkers’ block we saw the coming and going of dozens of migrating Yellow Rumped Warblers. They were feeding on something in the cherry blossoms on that particular stretch of the street for a few days, and were a cheery, chirpy addition to the ‘hood until they all suddenly moved on to the next warbler hot spot.
I also spied a bushtit nest suspended in one of the trees at the end of the block. Invisible until you see it — and then it seems terrifyingly obvious and vulnerable. I wish the trees would hurry up and get more leaves!
I also figured out where White Wing is nesting. Sometimes she comes off the nest for a minute to say hi (and see if I have peanuts.) One day she landed on top of a blue car and, for a moment, looked magically like a magpie!
Well, that’s the update as of the last walk a couple of hours ago. Hoping Mr. Walker will continue to improve and I’ll post another update next week.