Summer Urban Wildlife Update

Crows Cancer Survivirs 07-26-17-2343Not much going on with birds in the downtown parks these days. It is breeding season and occasionally I hear baby birds, see a youngster here and there, but the warm weather also brings out the tourists and I think the birds are keeping a low profile.

I am always happy to see my crow friends. But last week when I visited Lake Shore East Park, below is a picture of the first crow I saw. I am sure crows die on occasion but it is very unusual to see a dead one. I called Chicago Bird Collision Monitors first to see if there was any protocol, perhaps the state was still collecting crows to test for West Nile Virus, but they checked and called me back and they had no suggestions on what to do. I was surprised no one had found the carcass and removed it, given the workers who seem to be constantly maintaining the gardens. Although under a tree, the bird was in plain sight from the walk.

Dead Crow LSE Park 07-17-17-1784

I hope this isn’t Fuzzy.

A couple women walking by with baby carriages stopped to talk to me about the dead crow, they were concerned and sad to see it. Eventually I met a young woman named Tess who proved to be a crow soul mate and she promised to investigate who to notify as she lives nearby. She wrote me an email a couple days later saying she finally managed to tell one of the gardeners, as the management in her building had been clueless. Her description of the gardener’s eyes welling up with tears when she showed him the dead crow was touching. Tess surmised that the gardener was as fond of the crows as he seemed to be of tending the gardens. That explains to me why the crows chose Lake Shore East Park to raise their young, they feel welcome there.

In any event, the crow funeral gathering must have occurred a lot earlier because the two or three crows present with youngsters seemed to be going on with their lives, although I am quite certain they were aware of the corpse and the attention we paid to it. I am just hoping I have not lost an old friend, Fuzzy, who was hanging out with this bunch. I think Fuzzy was himself a juvenile only a few years ago.

Hot, sunshiny summer afternoons are good for butterflies, or at least they ought to be. I got lucky Tuesday with a Monarch at Lake Shore East Park.

Other birds finding ways to deal with the heat were the House Sparrows bathing in the fountain below…

HOSPs LSE Park 07-25-17-2142and Rock Pigeons preening in the shade or sun-bathing in the mulch.

Yesterday I didn’t get as far as Lake Shore East because the crows met me at the Cancer Survivors’ Garden instead. There was only one fledgling.

But while this fledged kid was more vocal than on other occasions, it was also learning to forage for itself. If you click on the pictures below, in the first one you can see it showing off a beak full of small worms.

Just as I was leaving the garden yesterday, a Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly flew into the onion patch.

Tiger Swallowtail Cancer Survivirs 07-26-17-2401Here’s one more of the fledgling.

Fledge Crow Cancer Survivirs 07-26-17-2245

“So you’re that peanut lady.”

12 thoughts on “Summer Urban Wildlife Update

  1. Sorry about the crow. I just hope that his passing was not related to a virus. The guy at the last photo is a handsome bird! πŸ™‚

    • Thanks, H. J.! I’m thinking maybe the crow ate something or someone poisonous. I violated my personal rule never to photograph a dead bird but it was just so shocking. Glad you like the fledged kid. Life goes on. πŸ™‚

  2. Thanks for your post Lisa. Nice to know that the gardeners care about the crows too. Once again I learned a lot.

    • Hope that’s not true of crows – I have not been able to determine whether they have gone into another decline after rebounding from West Nile. I’m not seeing them as much downtown but that could be due to habitat loss and I hope they’ve gone elsewhere. On the other hand, it seems that crow populations are increasing on the West Coast.

    • Oh my, I hope you haven’t run out of butterflies. The problem here is I only see one on a given day. I think I will be looking hard for more this weekend. I hope yours show up soon!

  3. It’s so nice to hear about people who enjoy the company of the crows. They’re not as popular round hear, but fortunately are smart enough to stay clear of the locals. I’ve been seeing and hearing a lot this summer.

    • Oddly enough, or maybe not oddly at all, I haven’t seen any crows for the last week and a half, but if my memory serves me correctly this could be when I envision the crows downtown at least take all their youngsters to the closest communal roost to learn how to be crows. πŸ™‚

      • I think you are absolutely right, I watched a mob of about 50 playing around overhead this afternoon πŸ™‚

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