June 15, 2014

Crows ~ in our tree

We have a family of crows living in a tree just off our balcony. We started to see them in April as they began to build their nest. Twigs, string, bits of plastic and paper have all gone into the tree to build the nest. Often a family member will perch on another tree nearby to keep lookout.

The nest can't be seen, due to dense layers of leaves, but it is in there somewhere.

In early spring, crows build large and bulky nests, messy affairs actually. The female lays three to six or seven eggs that are incubated for about 18 days. The eggs are apparently blue with brown splotches. Once hatched, and we think our babies have hatched, the young crows remain in the nest for six to eight weeks as they grow their feathers.

Sometimes, if we listen carefully, we can hear what must be the sounds of the future fledglings. Otherwise it tends to be rather quiet around the tree, especially when considering the otherwise highly vocal and often noisy nature of crows. Sometimes one of the adults will kick up a fuss, or maybe it's a celebration, but most of the time you would never know a family of crows was in the tree. The adults slip in and out of the tree almost secretively, as though we might never notice.

Crows are very interesting members of possibly the most intelligent avian group: the Corvidae. Members include magpies, blue jays and ravens, which Sherry and I saw during our three months in Dawson City, Yukon.

Crows mate for life, have over 20 different vocalisations, are devoted to family and friends and, like Jeem, tend to eat just about everything and anything. They are also curious about what goes on around them, as are we of them and their new family, yet unseen by Sherry y Jeem.

Photos by Jim Murray. Copyright 2014.