I saw 2 scouting about last week but didn't think too much about it. Then, this morning, I began coming across tree debris.
|...and then this|
Then I heard them - their cries are unmistakable. I wasn't quick enough with my camera to catch both members of the pair sitting in a tree on my neighbor's property but I caught a photo of one before it flew off to join its mate.
I have no doubt they'll be back as the debris I collected this morning is a small fraction of what I picked up last year.
|Debris collected this morning along one pathway|
According to an on-line resource affiliated with Cornell University, breeding pairs take one to 2 weeks to build their nests, which are constructed from scratch each year. Nests have 3 layers: a base constructed of sticks, a filling made of mud and grass, and a thick bowl of "something soft," which I assume is where the pepper tree branchlets come into play.
This year, so far anyway, they seem to prefer the 2 trees that were trimmed in late January, even though the other 5 trees have a lot more foliage to pick from. My husband speculated that the open branching of these trees allow them to swoop in, pick what they want and fly off more easily than the trees with denser foliage. That makes sense to me, especially as I recall that their favorite tree last year was the one with the lightest foliage.
|The crows prefer these 2 trees|
|...to this untrimmed tree|
The internet is full of interesting information on crows, deemed by many sources to he highly intelligent creatures. Click here for an article on 6 "terrifying" ways crows have demonstrated how smart they are. Among other things, their abilities include facial recognition, conspiracy, planning and trickery. Hitchcock's film, "The Birds" no longer seems like a fantasy to me. I think I have to seek peaceful coexistence. The good news is that the presence of the crows hasn't seemed to bother the smaller birds in my garden - the crows seem to be more interested in nesting material than prey. While they are predators, according to the Cornell source, their main food sources are grains, earthworms and other invertebrates.
|A trio of small birds enjoying an undisturbed bath in the fountain|
Have you had any interesting experiences with crows in your garden?