Marvin and Mavis have been our “backyard” crows since 2017.
Whenever I’d go out onto the back deck, I’d know that any crow waiting out there or on the neighbour’s roof would be one of them.
Don’t worry, they’re still fine!
Plus, Lucky, their 2022 fledgling, is still with them. I see them every day, and all three look tip top.
It’s hard to tell Marvin and Mavis apart at the moment, but Lucky is usually busy and curiou, checking out roof fittings, stray bits of plastic and twigs. Her parents are generally more focussed on “grown-up” crow pursuits like allo-preening, finding edible items and feuding with the new neighbours.
Those neighbours are the reason we don’t see Marvin and Mavis in the yard as often these days.
This pair arrived last winter, nested in the tree across the alley from our garden in the summer and naturally claimed our backyard as theirs. It IS very close to their nesting tree, and years of construction and tree loss in the neighbourhood forced M&M a bit further away.
Marvin and Mavis, in two previous nesting seasons, built nests in the same tree, but were raided by raccoons there so often that they gave up on it.
I’m not sure how “The New Crows” fared with the raccoons, but it seems they’re here to stay — so this week, I gave up mentally calling them “the new ones” and named them — Nancy and Norman.
Marvin and Mavis still visit the garden from time to time — caws for cawing, extreme feather-fluffing and occasional outraged dive-bombing between the families.
But mostly, it’s the cawing.
Team Marvin and Mavis have a clear edge on this front — for two reasons.
First: aptitude. These two have long been experts in the Wall Of Sound technique.
In fact, I wrote about their vocal prowess way back in 2018 in a post titled, you guessed it, Wall of Sound. The two of them have always had the ability to meld their voices into a what sounds like a full-on murder.
Secondly, with the addition of Lucky, they’re well on the way to being powerhouse vocal trio with the ability (at least in their own minds) to move mountains with the power of sound.
Here’s the whole family running through some warm-up exercises the other day …
Lucky’s still in training, and I recently had the chance to observe just how serious the tuition regimen is.
It was a classic two family face-off.
Marvin, Mavis and Lucky had the height advantage in the tree in front of the house. Watch the crow on the right carefully …
Lucky is in the middle, partly obscured by the branch, but you can see one of her parents giving her a good hard prod every time she even thinks about taking a break from her vocal efforts.
A proud family tradition needs to be upheld — and Norman and Nancy need to be reminded of who is in charge here — so no time for slacking!
Norman and Nancy, however, seem relatively unimpressed — seen here taking a few moments to compose a thoughtful (and loud) response.
I’m hoping that, over the quieter winter months, we might reach some sort of detente, allowing both families to stick around with slightly less racket.
I look forward to keeping up with my old crowquaintances AND getting to know Norma and Nancy better.
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