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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