Crow Post – Spring 2013

New and Old Crow IMG_8208_1

Fledgling Crow with Parent

No longer distracted by passerine migration, it’s time to get caught up with the crows. Available territories downtown have shrunk considerably and with it the resident crow population. But a couple weeks ago, on May 20, to be exact, I caught my first glimpse of two fledgling crows at Lake Shore East Park.

Fledgling Crow IMG_7721_1

Every year the breeding season seems to start earlier, and this is by far the earliest I have seen crow kids. So young their eyes hadn’t turned brown yet.

Juvenile CrowIMG_7744_1

Fledgling Crow IMG_7735_1

Then I went down to the lakefront parks before work on May 29, and while individual crows were not following me, I witnessed a joyous celebration of fifty to sixty crows (a true “murder”) out on their Spring Fling. I never know how they organize these group flight events, whether they all came from a communal roost or if there was an invitation to fly en masse over Michigan Avenue to crows up and down the lakefront, but whatever brought them together that morning to fly repeatedly overhead, it was a sight to behold. I couldn’t shoot pictures of them in the air fast enough.

Crows IMG_2044_1

But at one point they all descended upon a fire escape, so I could capture some of the group.

Crow Escape IMG_2046_1

Fire Escape Crows IMG_2056_1

Yesterday at Lake Shore East Park I snuck a few peanuts to the parent crow and waited to see if this was going to be a peanut-cracking lesson.

But it looks like it was more like a Start-to-Wean-You event.

Begging IMG_8242_1

Weaning IMG_8255_1

Not as many opportunities this year, without the bigger, continuous park space, to spoil the kids early and teach them bad habits. I suspect they will be going on more field trips with the larger community. That’s good, in a way. They will learn first to be wild.

Fledgling Crow IMG_8034_1

12 thoughts on “Crow Post – Spring 2013

  1. I remember there used to be tons of crows in Rogers Park (the park, not the neighborhood). They used to divebomb our cat. This was when we lived on Birchwood near the park. Now you hardly see them. There are lots of grackles and an occasional bluejay.

    • It’s interesting how one species declines and another takes over. I don’t remember ever seeing as many Grackles as I do now. On the other hand, for as long as it is taking crows to recover from West Nile, they are certainly increasing in numbers along the lakefront. But before West Nile virus, crows were as plentiful as Robins are now. I think there is a connection there too. More crows will eventually mean fewer Robins.

      • Most people would. I like robins too but sometimes I miss the crows. The robins only seem to appreciate me when I’m digging in the yard… which I have a lot more to do after all the rain we’ve had. 🙂

    • Ha ha. I’ve never seen it, although I’ve seen a few clips and I was just thinking well-trained studio crows. I was musing over crows yesterday (WHAT?) and thinking that the reason why they’re so attractive and unattractive to us is because of all the bird species they most resemble us, in cunning, wit, sheer brainpower, but also because they are community-driven.

      • We don’t have crows here, just some in far east Texas and maybe north Texas. We have Ravens which are much larger. Some other pests that we have here are Starlings and Grackles. I imagine they are akin to crows in their behavior. 🙂

      • Love ’em or hate ’em. Okay. So I’m glad you don’t have crows… Sorry, I don’t think Starlings or Grackles are anywhere near as smart as crows. 🙂

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