My granddaughter and I counted 65 toads in the water along our pond’s dike this morning, mostly pairs in amplectus. We guessed that we’d missed quite a few that were hidden in the overhanging herbage, so maybe 100 toads in all. They make quite a chorus!
This afternoon I was watching a Crow on the dike, and got a look at its method for catching toads. It landed a couple feet back from the water’s edge, and walked slowly through the grasses, brambles and dead stalks, right up to the edge. Then it reached down and plucked out a pair of clasping toads, a big female with a smaller male on top. Quickly the Crow hopped backwards with a wing lift, secured its grasp on the prey, and then flew back with the massive load about six feet into the mowed strip, where it could proceed to kill the two toads without risk of their escaping into the water. At that point I had to leave, but I returned half an hour later to see what might remain. In past years I would have found a corpse on its back with its belly torn open, and many more like it up and down the dike. This year the corpses are not there, but when I reached the location of the kill, there was a telling amount of blood on the grass. So this tradition of toad-killing at my pond has not ceased, it has only evolved a new wrinkle: now the Crows retire with the kill to some less-frequented location! -Geo Geo Kloppel Tupper Road West Danby -- Cayugabirds-L List Info: http://www.NortheastBirding.com/CayugabirdsWELCOME http://www.NortheastBirding.com/CayugabirdsRULES http://www.NortheastBirding.com/CayugabirdsSubscribeConfigurationLeave.htm ARCHIVES: 1) http://email@example.com/maillist.html 2) http://www.surfbirds.com/birdingmail/Group/Cayugabirds 3) http://birdingonthe.net/mailinglists/CAYU.html Please submit your observations to eBird: http://ebird.org/content/ebird/ --