Here’s some of what I’ve been seeing with crows. 

As of today they are still gathering in the thousands in the evening in the 
woods near the fish ladder (behind Home Depot). The winter roost must include 
birds which breed somewhere else. Where? 

There are also locally breeding crows here. Today I saw a pair foraging on a 
lawn near Northeast Elementary School. (One had brown wing tags with ‘36’ on 
them. The other crow had no tags.) I bet it was a pair on their territory even 
though they are a couple weeks away from breeding. I think of mid-March as the 
time to see a crow carrying a stick for a nest. Perhaps crow pairs spend a lot 
of time on their territory throughout the winter.  

On Wednesday near Freeville I saw one crow diving repeatedly at a Red-tailed 
Hawk that was perched in the top of a conifer. A second crow was perched nearby 
watching the display of aggression.

Yesterday I saw several Fish Crows poking at a large old stick nest in the top 
of a deciduous tree. Maybe it’s their nest from last year and they are sharing 
memories and bonding. They were not adding to it, and besides it is totally 
obvious without any leaves out.

I assume the Raven nest-building behavior was on schedule a bit earlier than 
crows for them to raise their larger offspring, similar to Great Horned Owls 
and Bald Eagles starting in winter. 

It’s normal for many of our year-round birds to sing on sunny days in winter 
after the days start to lengthen noticeably. Cardinals are usually first, even 
starting in the first week of January. Chickadees, Titmice, and White-breasted 
Nuthatches are also pretty early. Normal, but fun! 

Carolina Wrens sing year-round, one reason I am particularly fond of them. 

Thanks, Anne, for the information about birds’ cues to behavior change. 

- - Dave Nutter


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