Sunday with the crows…

We often spend Sunday watching birds. This Sunday our crows were allowing us the rare opportunity of taking their photographs with a little help of a zoom lens. They were chasing the ducks and squirrels off the lawn---away from the peanuts we threw down there. They were not successful as you can see in the extra photographs we included. Here are the photographs we got---for you to enjoy them with us.

Caching Corvids

Did you know that the corvid-family of birds cache food for later -- saving it in multiple spots for many months? They also watch other birds cache food and steal it--moving it for themselves. They are sneaky. They pay attention. This is interesting. There brain size to body ratio is relative to primates. They are social. We really enjoy watching them interact, eat and check things out.
Crows in a tree...
Crows in a tree...
Their ability to remember for long periods of time is fascinating. Some corvids have been observed recovering food caches up to 250 days after hiding them. Studies suggest this is due to their ability to use spatial memory ability. What is located next to what -- such as many children do.1 "By the McDonalds over by my school mommy." This is simply astonishing to me that corvids have such an excellent memory. Maybe their abilities to cache food and to forward-think help them to survive when other birds are not doing so well.2
  1. http://www.pigeon.psy.tufts.edu/asc/Balda/Default.htm#IV._Cache_Recovery_Tests_of_Spatial_Memory_ []
  2. http://www.audubon.org/news/CBID_NYTimes.html []

Crow Cam Today =)

We put out peanuts without shells today for the first time. They were a hit. The crows like not having to open the shells and they attracted two more kinds of birds as well. =) Fun! The crows seemed to be done for the day. The bowl was still about 1/4 full but they flew off. However, when a stellar jay showed up and started eating some of the peanuts, they came back cawing and trying to scare him off. He flew away but then when they flew off, he flew back. It was rather comical to watch. =) I think the new peanuts attracted him.

Crow Cam Update

The crows love their peanuts! =) I enjoy watching them and feeding them. They are clever creatures. They have taken to letting us know verbally when they want food, particularly if they can see or hear you. Here are some pictures from the last few feedings. In this gallery you can see that we put peanuts out and it was only one crow eating for awhile. He was enjoying his full reign over the peanut bowl. He took his time, cracking the peanuts open, eating them and then getting another. He stuck around on the porch a lot longer, lingering in his good fortune. This lasted for about 45 minutes until the afternoon bunch of juvenile crows showed up... they like to come early during the afternoons. They are loud and aggressive, cawwing at one another and chasing the other crows off. They came and harassed him but at least he got some peaceful eating time before they showed up.

Tiny Crow Camera Spies On Clever Birds

New Caledonian Crow (Corvus moneduloides)
New Caledonian Crow (Corvus moneduloides)
ScienceDaily (2007-10-10) -- Researchers can now 'hitch a ride' with wild birds and witness their natural and undisturbed behaviour. Scientists developed miniaturised video cameras with integrated radio-tags that can be carried by wild, free-flying birds. Using this new 'video-tracking' technology, they spied on the behaviour of New Caledonian crows, a species renowned for its sophisticated use of tools, recording behaviours never seen before. Read the entire article here. This is very interesting. I would love to watch some of these videos to see where the crows we feed go off to in between feedings. They are such clever birds, aren't they?