|Attempted Murder Strolls Onto the Scene|
|Murder in Progress|
|Murder Most Black|
|Not as Innocent as Snow|
|Or Misunderstood Birds?|
|Or Seeking It?|
|And the Murder Flies Off|
American crows become the prominent bird of winter, not just because they are so easy to spot, all black on white. They remain when all other birds have left.
Well, the migrators have left. No more Blue Heron to harass, no mother merganser with her tuft-headed brood, no more diving osprey.
With the seasonal guests gone from the shores of Elmira, the crows have moved in, roosting in the pines and plucking at any opportunities that remain.
Crows are both predators, as well as prey. They are bothersome in the spring when migrators are nesting because they like to eat eggs. A single crow can devour an entire nest as if it were a super-sized fast-food meal.
As scavengers, they will eat anything--deer roadkill, discarded crackers, frogs, fruit, snakes and field mice. They've been known to collect shiny things, too.
I've heard stories of crows hoarding all manner of things like a pack-rat. I've even heard tales that you can play a game with a crow and leave shiny objects as a gift and see if the crow gives you any in return.
It's a tempting game to set up. And winter would be the perfect time to play, while the migrators are away. I'll keep you posted on any results.
One thing that photography teaches me is to observe. When I first spotted this group, there was but one crow walking down my driveway. Then more and more showed up and as a group they plotted and winged their way to the pond.
Then flew off.
It was an interesting movement and the course of these photos took less than five minutes. What they were up to, I can't say. They committed no actual crime.
Murder is the name for a group of birds from the Corvidea family--crows, ravens, jays and magpies. It originates from folklore and superstition.
It is said that crows will gather to decide the capital fate of another. Perhaps this gathering was the Corvidea version of a murder trial.
Many superstitions about crows perpetuate because they are ominous black scavengers. Imagine more gruesome times when battlefields, prison towers or plague-ridden towns were full of Corvidea accompanying the dead.
No wonder murder most fowl seemed appropriate.
Today, however, we know that crows are highly intelligent and social birds. They mate for life and stay together in close-knit families. They will even help out strange crows and speak over 250 different calls!
I often hear a crow call and ponder what bird is making that noise in December and then a crow flies over. I'm always surprised when I learn a new crow call.
Scientists monitor crows for the impact of certain human diseases. For instance, crows are a huge indicator of West Nile Disease. Since 1999, 45 percent of American crows have succumbed to this disease.
In a sense, they do foretell.
Today, they are simply fun to welcome to the pond. And so photogenic with black wings beating against a white background.
I'm linking up this (wordy) post with Abracabadra for Wordless Wednesday. You can find beautiful and thought-provoking photos through her generous post.