Good Morning Barabara & Nature Lovers,
Your last post reminded me of our previous CROW discussion. I had mentioned the steady City increase of CROWS over the last few years, which seemed to coincide with the plastic sheets covering of nearby farms. As you mentioned the CROWS like open area and they used to forage on agriculture land, but now I rarely see them there anymore since the soil is buried under sun heated plastic. CROWS live in groups and their City population explosion caused my bird bias watcher dilemma after watching them hacking ‘my’ songbird fledglings to pieces. Mind you: I am not falling out of my ‘Nature love’ tree over wildlife feeding itself. It’s just their presence can severely decrease the smaller bird flocks as I have witnessed in my neighborhood. CROWS are scavengers and definietly no dummies. So people’s sloppy litter habits are CROWS’ fast food dreams come true: the fishermen leave and the CROWS arrive, picking over the left behind bait and unfinished snacks. The tourists come and the CROWS join them, rumaging through their trash. The Benchland camps litter arrived, welcomed by an ever increasing amount of CROWS. My Westside friend told me that the CROWS arrive by the hundreds in the evening to roost close to Meder Park.
Last week my levee walks harvested these anecdotes and photos for you:
SATURDAY: On this early morning only 3 other levee walkers had the critters enjoying their tranquil habitat. Unhindered by human traffic they calmly foraged in the grass, bushes and along the shoreline. A sun bathed WHITE-crowned SPARROW was feeding on a Gumplant seed pod on a dried out stalk, ignoring the pods on the ground. Again I didn’t see any Golden-crowned SPARROWS nor did I hear them. They have been sparse along the levee this winter season and rarely have I heard their distinct call. An unknown bird call from the big Cypress trees by the Kaiser Stadium had me cranning my neck, trying to locate the bird in the thick branch clusters. A HAWK, dashing into the tree, helpfully pinpointed the mystery bird, who crashed out of the branches, pursued by the RED-shouldered HAWK. Seeing them fly, the escapee clearly was a FALCON, because of the long narrow tail and smaller body size. The chaser returned to the Cypress, was joined by an other RED-shouldered Hawk. After a brief discussion they headed over to the Jessie St Marsh trees.
SUNDAY: I arrived at the Mike Fox Re-Vegetation project to water the donated plants from the generous Elkhorn Nursery. The RED-shouldered HAWK eyed me alertly from a nearby tree. It flew over to a pole, triggering a short lived CROW attack. Suddenly the HAWK’s body tensed, shot off its perch, zipped down to the river, returned to the pole and ate its mouse catch, smacking its beak while watching me water, got bored and flew off. A GREEN HERON startled me, when it practically landed right next to me by the Riverside Ave. bridge. A young woman came up and asked me what bird I was watching. I loaned her my monocular and she was so excited to see the GREEN HERON at the waterline that she made my day.
TUESDAY: Saw my levee friends on the Trestle path and had a wonderful schmooze about river birds. She brought up that he had heard the OSPREY call above their Seabright area homes. Running outside he saw 2 OSPREY circle above him, calling to each other before heading North. It turned out that only a few streets over I had heard that their call at the same time. Just like him, I had run outside to see 2 OSPREYS and a HAWK circling above me and then heading North. We had to marvel about that coincidence and cherish our neighborly river connection.
THURSDAY: My daughter asked me what I thought about Benchland campers’ tents right by the river waterline. I was unaware of that and went to check it out. Turns out the usual campsite had been cleared for cleaning. This meant that campers had moved their tents down to the river and were using the tree branches for their clothes lines, were washing clothes in the river and their trash was piling up right next to the water. Looking around I didn’t see any birds. I talked briefly to the Rangers, who were busy containing the campers activities as best as they could. The City is working on finding an agreeable location that will have less environmental impact. It looks like the achievement will be accomplished by the beginning of March.
Chirpy cheers to you all, jane