Friday, May 20, 2011

A Murder of Crows

A few weeks ago a pair of robins built their nest on our guest bathroom windowsill. Not wanting to disturb them too much, I opened the window exactly three times - once to sneak a peek at the eggs while Mama robin was at the edge of the garden in search of worms, scattering mulch all over the patio (a daily ritual.)

Once while Mama was way in back taking a dip in the swale,

And one last time, after a ruckus between a pair of robins and a couple of crows. I hoped this wasn't what the ruckus was about. Sadly, it was. Crows are back. We started seeing them again around here late last summer. They'd been absent for years, possibly due to West Nile Virus.

I worried about those babies. Two stories down, below the guest bathroom window, is our concrete patio. I wondered how they'd fare when it was time to fledge. I'm sorry they didn't get that chance.

A group of crows is properly called a murder of crows. Maybe this is why.


  1. We've noticed an increase in the crow population up here, Linda. We used to have large crow conventions, which is another crow behavior. What seemed like a hundred or so of them would park up in a stand of trees just beyond the house and take turns 'speaking'. Crow TED TALKS? But for a few years we've seen much smaller groups. This year, however, there are more of them around. Not the really big conventions as before, though. We are also seeing a few more blue jays. Since last year was one of the worst mosquito crops we can remember, perhaps some birds are developing an immunity to West Nile. Or, perhaps it is just natural cycles, like the cicada hatches. I hear that there is a 14-year cicada hatch in progress this year. Happy serenading - I know how much you enjoy them. ;->0

  2. Aw, that is such a bummer. I sometimes get crows at my feeders, but I didn't realize they ate baby birds. :( Nature is sometimes a bit graphic.

  3. The mosquitoes were awful here last year too Mom! The wet spring and early summer seemed to bring them out in droves. Even though most of the summer was very dry, they never seemed to die down.

    Crow conventions are pretty amazing - haven't seen one of those in a long time. Crow funerals, which I didn't know about until watching the "Nature" program (linked at the bottom of the post,) must be something to see too - a lot like a convention, only silent.

    Yep, definitely a bummer Monica. I think those babies had a pretty slim chance of survival, considering where the nest is. Clearly, robins aren't nearly as intelligent as crows!

    Nature can definitely be graphic. This morning when I went to kitchen to make coffee, I saw a dead goldfinch on the patio outside the sliding door from our den. It must have flown into the window. :(

    Crows gotta eat too, but I think I'd rather put up with the finches pulling petals off the coneflowers than finding them dead on the patio. :(

  4. This is why I don't watch nature shows...I know this is how it is but it's still sad.

  5. Oh that's sad! Well in my garden, normaly the murder is my cat Noah :o(. We have now two nests of tits and it seems as if they will be soon ready to leave the nest. I hope I get the right moment to include that naughty cat so that the young birdies have got a chance to start in their new live.
    Have a nice sunday!

  6. At my place this morning it was a rat snake in a mockingbird nest (I caught it on video). Later I saw mockingbirds chasing crows toward the cornfield. It's that time of year.

  7. I had a nest of robin babies one day and then the next...gone. Maybe mine met with a similar fate. I like nature to be nice :(

  8. It WAS sad Alex. When I was googling about crows eating baby birds, I found that, at least in the case of robins, very few of them make it to adulthood. Robins breed several times during the season, which I guess is why there never seems to be a shortage of them around here.

    I hope Noah behaves himself around the baby birds. Last spring, a nest of fledgling cardinals were all eaten by our next-door neighbor's cat. I felt very sorry for the cardinal parents, who revisited the scene of the crime for over a week.

    Parents work so hard to protect their babies Nell Jean! I've never seen a snake here - one less threat here to all our nesting birds.

    Nature can sure be brutal Balisha. I was kind of surprised when I read that MOST baby robins don't survive. Considering how many robins there are around here, those parents must be very busy raising brood after brood to insure at least some do make it. I definitely have a romantic idea of nature, although in reality, it can be stark and seemingly cruel.

  9. Oh, so sorry!!! for years I tried to help the native bluebirds establish a nesting box, but the European House Sparrows have killed fledging and parents. I finally had to give up, I couldn't take the heartache...

  10. Well, I think you've just explained for me why they're called a "murder" of crows, Linda. This is so sad, though, but unfortunately a part of nature. Friday evening two of the younger grandchildren were here and spent a good deal of time checking out a baby bird underneath a tree. The nest was too high for me to put it back, and I knew if I tried to put it anywhere else in the tree, it would fall down again. The next morning it was gone--I like to think it eventually flew away, but the reality may have been much different.

  11. I thought it was just my imagination, but I too have seen an larger number of crows around here along with seagulls.

  12. I'm sorry too Sissy. I'm kind of glad the robins seem to have abandoned this nest. It wasn't a place to raise babies.

    I didn't realize sparrows ate bluebirds - that's awful. I haven't ever seen bluebirds here - clearly they have a harder time of it than robins, which, in spite of their hardships, are still very plentiful.

    So many little tragedies in nature Rose. I'm sorry about your baby bird.

    The crows seem to have rebounded quite well MBT. Maybe some have developed immunity to West Nile.

    I know what you mean about the gulls! Sheesh - they're plentiful! They love to hang out in shopping center parking lots around here - plenty for them to eat I guess, when people are careless with their fast-food leftovers. They seem to love leftover burgers and fries.

  13. That's too bad. I hate seeing stuff like this. Mother Nature, and all that.....


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