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BS: Birds & weather. The crows are massing.

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gnu 12 Dec 10 - 04:01 PM
John MacKenzie 12 Dec 10 - 04:02 PM
Ebbie 12 Dec 10 - 04:28 PM
gnu 12 Dec 10 - 04:28 PM
gnu 12 Dec 10 - 04:30 PM
gnu 12 Dec 10 - 04:34 PM
Arthur_itus 12 Dec 10 - 04:39 PM
John MacKenzie 12 Dec 10 - 04:53 PM
Ebbie 12 Dec 10 - 05:37 PM
gnu 13 Dec 10 - 07:11 AM
My guru always said 13 Dec 10 - 08:13 AM
bubblyrat 13 Dec 10 - 08:29 AM
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gnu 13 Dec 10 - 10:03 AM
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Little Hawk 13 Dec 10 - 03:39 PM
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Subject: BS: Birds & weather. The crows are massing.
From: gnu
Date: 12 Dec 10 - 04:01 PM

We have birding threads. We have weather threads. I have commented on both types regarding birds & weather.

I have witnessed bird migrations that were spellbinding and I hope to see another soon. We have a storm coming in. Usually, at this time of year it would be a wicked snowstorm and the crows would be long gone BUT they are still here. Unfortunately, the next storm will not bring rain, high winds and 12C temps as this one is forecast to do.

I know this because the crows are massing. There are hundreds of crows in my pines. I expect there will be a thousand crows in my front yard and the same in my back yard view by dark. And, I live in the city. Not a lot of trees. Many will perch on the apartment building rooves out back.

My camera is ready. The camcorder battery is on charge. I got amazing video a few years ago of the spring migration. I missed a fall migration a couple of years ago as I was spellbound and didn't even think of the camcorder to record what I saw by chance.

As I type, I glance out my office window and see more swoop in and land in my pines. Unless you are a birder or some such, you have no idea of the thrill I am experiencing.

Jaysus! There are well over a thousand in view from my office window but the onset darkness makes recording useless... winter is nigh... the crows don't lie.

I hope I get video in the morning... seriously, this is like "a kid at Xmas stuff" for me!

Holy moly! About 40 just lit on the power and telephone wires leading to my house. I think I gotta pee! Hehehehee. Gosh I hope I can get pics and vids in the morn.


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Subject: RE: BS: Birds & weather. The crows are massing.
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 12 Dec 10 - 04:02 PM

We wish you a merry crowmass g


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Subject: RE: BS: Birds & weather. The crows are massing.
From: Ebbie
Date: 12 Dec 10 - 04:28 PM

So. Are you calling this a spring migration? If you don't expect high winds and low temps, what are you forecasting?


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Subject: RE: BS: Birds & weather. The crows are massing.
From: gnu
Date: 12 Dec 10 - 04:28 PM

Hahahaaa... thanks, G.

I called Mum... there were about two hundred in her apple tree and on her garage... more on the ground pecking at apples, which ya just don't see every day. I went out to try to get pics as there is a street light that lights up her back yard... I hope some turn out okay but ya just don't know with these LCD screen cameras. This is the first time Mum has seen this in her 84 years. I'm glad she got to see this. I know she doesn't share my true excitement and joy, but I am sure she felt some of it.

Ebbie... if you read this... made me think of you. Not ravens, but kinda close.


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Subject: RE: BS: Birds & weather. The crows are massing.
From: gnu
Date: 12 Dec 10 - 04:30 PM

Ebbie! You did read this. Cross posted. Spring migration? I WISH!


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Subject: RE: BS: Birds & weather. The crows are massing.
From: gnu
Date: 12 Dec 10 - 04:34 PM

Ahhhh... missed that Ebbie... "If you don't expect high winds and low temps, what are you forecasting?"

We have 90kph, rain and 12C forecast for tomorrow and Tuesday. The crows are massing. They will leave. The NEXT storm will be a winter storm. The crows don't lie.


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Subject: RE: BS: Birds & weather. The crows are massing.
From: Arthur_itus
Date: 12 Dec 10 - 04:39 PM

Are you Alfred Hitchcock Gnu?


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Subject: RE: BS: Birds & weather. The crows are massing.
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 12 Dec 10 - 04:53 PM

That's a bit personal innit?


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Subject: RE: BS: Birds & weather. The crows are massing.
From: Ebbie
Date: 12 Dec 10 - 05:37 PM

lol


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Subject: RE: BS: Birds & weather. The crows are massing.
From: gnu
Date: 13 Dec 10 - 07:11 AM

They left just after dark. Dunno if they are "gone" or not.Sniff.


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Subject: RE: BS: Birds & weather. The crows are massing.
From: My guru always said
Date: 13 Dec 10 - 08:13 AM

Hope they haven't gone yet Gnu, please kep us posted....


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Subject: RE: BS: Birds & weather. The crows are massing.
From: bubblyrat
Date: 13 Dec 10 - 08:29 AM

It should be "The Crows Are Murdering ".


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Subject: RE: BS: Birds & weather. The crows are massing.
From: Arthur_itus
Date: 13 Dec 10 - 08:52 AM

The Birds

I hope you are safe Gnu?


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Subject: RE: BS: Birds & weather. The crows are massing.
From: gnu
Date: 13 Dec 10 - 10:03 AM

Hehehehee. Loved the ducks!


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Subject: RE: BS: Birds & weather. The crows are massing.
From: Ebbie
Date: 13 Dec 10 - 11:49 AM

The ducks?


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Subject: RE: BS: Birds & weather. The crows are massing.
From: gnu
Date: 13 Dec 10 - 02:53 PM

Well, they looked kinda like geese, but there was definitely quacking.


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Subject: RE: BS: Birds & weather. The crows are massing.
From: gnu
Date: 13 Dec 10 - 02:56 PM

Watched it again... no ducks... sorry... stand down... smoke em if ya got em.


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Subject: RE: BS: Birds & weather. The crows are massing.
From: gnu
Date: 13 Dec 10 - 03:32 PM

I was just out for a walk in the balmy weather and saw a half dozen crows fighting the gustywinds so I am hopeful the migration is yet to come. Odd that they would mass up here that way they did if they weren't going south.

BTW, for those who have not read my posts about the spring migration I saw... it's like they come here to say hello (goodbye in fall) to a pair that stay here all winter. The female is lame and doesn't fly well and I assume the male stays with her over the winter because they are a mated pair or at least the way I "like" to think of it. I feed them through the winter and I have excellent pics and videos of them. I like this pic.


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Subject: RE: BS: Birds & weather. The crows are massing.
From: Little Hawk
Date: 13 Dec 10 - 03:39 PM

The crows are massing because I have asked them to gather in their millions and go and punish Amos for his many sins and omissions. I expect they are on their way to California by now. ;-)


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Subject: RE: BS: Birds & weather. The crows are massing.
From: gnu
Date: 13 Dec 10 - 03:45 PM

Did you tell them to bring snow in their backpacks?


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Subject: RE: BS: Birds & weather. The crows are massing.
From: Little Hawk
Date: 13 Dec 10 - 04:16 PM

No! I did not. But what I should tell them is to take all that snow straight to Amos.


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Subject: RE: BS: Birds & weather. The crows are massing.
From: gnu
Date: 08 Nov 11 - 04:50 PM

The crow migration was on over the past few hours. I didn't notice it until about an hour ago. AMAZING. I got some video but my vcam is a cheapo and the stuff that was amazing was too far away for the vcam to do it justice. I saw at least ten thousand within 500m of me.

This date is goin on the calendar! Made the day worthwhile!


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Subject: RE: BS: Birds & weather. The crows are massing.
From: Beer
Date: 08 Nov 11 - 04:55 PM

The only crow I heard was about ....effing 5 a.m. this morning. Cawing away. Why does it have to pick the tree right besides the house.
Sounds as if it was a great scene Gnu.
ad.


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Subject: RE: BS: Birds & weather. The crows are massing.
From: GUEST
Date: 08 Nov 11 - 05:19 PM

We see formations of geese flying at this time of the year in North Norfolk UK. They make a trip out to the coast in the morning and come back in land in the evening.


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Subject: RE: BS: Birds & weather. The crows are massing.
From: GUEST,Jon
Date: 08 Nov 11 - 05:20 PM

missed name above.


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Subject: RE: BS: Birds & weather. The crows are massing.
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 08 Nov 11 - 05:24 PM

The Alice's Restaurant Massacrow, with four part harmony.
Yea, we're back to father rapers again!


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Subject: RE: BS: Birds & weather. The crows are massing.
From: katlaughing
Date: 08 Nov 11 - 07:29 PM

Oh, gnu, that must've been an incredible site! We have lots and lots of ravens, here, but they don't do much en masse. We do get geese travelling here from the north and/or to parts further south. The smaller birds have come back to twitter in the neighbour's evergreens, so it's time to start putting out the seeds. We spread it on a table outside the living room window and put some in feeders. Makes great cat TV!


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Subject: RE: BS: Birds & weather. The crows are massing.
From: Bee-dubya-ell
Date: 08 Nov 11 - 07:31 PM

Many of those crows winter around here. One of the largest wintertime flocks in North America roosts in the trees at Pensacola State College. They fly off to the regional landfill, about fifteen miles away, each morning and feed during the day. Then they start heading back an hour or so before sundown. Their flight path is fairly close to Interstate 10, and if you're driving down that highway at the right time, you'll see an unending string of crows a hundred yards wide. Then, when they get to their roosting are,a they circle around the trees waiting for the day to end before bedding down. I've seen those swirling masses of crows so thick that they block out the sun.

Ironically, their chosen roosting area is in one of the most highly developed areas of town. The college's campus is sort of an oasis where they can roost, but the airport adjoins the campus on the east, the area's largest shopping mall is to the south, and the road on the west side is basically a three-mile long strip mall. Why the crows chose to roost in what seems to be an ill-suited spot, given that there are acres and acres of open forestland much nearer to their feeding grounds, is a mystery.


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Subject: RE: BS: Birds & weather. The crows are massing.
From: bobad
Date: 08 Nov 11 - 07:42 PM

Check out this vid of a pretty impressive murmuration of starlings: http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2011/11/starling-flock/


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Subject: RE: BS: Birds & weather. The crows are massing.
From: gnu
Date: 08 Nov 11 - 09:37 PM

BWL.... the cityscape is actually warmer... by a few degrees... than the forest roosts.

Bobad... cool.

kat... I have video of the spring gathering in my backyard starting before dawn... thousands in my pines and on the rooves of apartment buildings next to me. I really take joy in witnessing such things. Why they choose this spot is a mystery, I am just glad they do.


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Subject: RE: BS: Birds & weather. The crows are massing.
From: gnu
Date: 08 Nov 11 - 09:49 PM

Note the time shift from last year when I started this thread. Long, cold winter with not much snow? I saw this trend start back in August. Early bluejays, woodpeckers, chickadees, blackbirds, starlings... hornets becoming aggressive when the flowers started to wane early this year. And all of this without being up in the woods... just observations in my backyard in the city.

We'll see. I am VERY intrigued. I expect one more warm rain on or just after the full moon... then, the next few weeks should tell the tale of the winter to come.


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Subject: RE: BS: Birds & weather. The crows are massing.
From: Beer
Date: 09 Nov 11 - 08:28 AM

That was amazing Bobad. Just imagine being the youngsters in that canoe. Something that they will never forget.
Ad.


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Subject: RE: BS: Birds & weather. The crows are massing.
From: GUEST,999
Date: 09 Nov 11 - 10:26 AM

Over the past week, literally thousands of snow geese have been massing on the river just out back. Thousands of Canadians, too. Quite a sight to watch the continuing 'education' of the juveniles in preparation for the long flight south.


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Subject: RE: BS: Birds & weather. The crows are massing.
From: gnu
Date: 09 Nov 11 - 02:02 PM

I'd love to see that 9. All I got to see today was hatch of Blue Arsed Flies. Damn things are everywhere... had one get in me eye.


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Subject: RE: BS: Birds & weather. The crows are massing.
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 09 Nov 11 - 02:07 PM

In the Manchester, UK suburb where I live we've got a huge resident flock of Jackdaws (another species of corvid). On winter evenings they gather in tree tops making their excited "chack, chack" sound (presumably the origin of their name). Smaller flocks build up, converge into one big flock and then they fly off to their roost somewhere (no-one seems to be sure, exactly, where this is).


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Subject: RE: BS: Birds & weather. The crows are massing.
From: olddude
Date: 09 Nov 11 - 02:36 PM

One of the fuckers ate my FROG !!


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Subject: RE: BS: Birds & weather. The crows are massing.
From: My guru always said
Date: 10 Nov 11 - 03:56 AM

Sorry to hear about your frog, olddude!

Fantastic video, bobad, many thanks for pointing us at it!


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Subject: RE: BS: Birds & weather. The crows are massing.
From: GUEST
Date: 10 Nov 11 - 12:48 PM

Dan... I nearly spit my tea!!! Hahahahaa. Thanks, I needed that laugh.


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Subject: RE: BS: Birds & weather. The crows are massing.
From: gnu
Date: 10 Nov 11 - 01:05 PM

That was me... tossed my cookie.


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Subject: RE: BS: Birds & weather. The crows are massing.
From: olddude
Date: 10 Nov 11 - 01:26 PM

sorry about that, I am still in mourning sniff- sniff
dang crow, I liked my Frog ...


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Subject: RE: BS: Birds & weather. The crows are massing.
From: gnu
Date: 10 Nov 11 - 01:29 PM

Maybe if you get a bunch of frogs you can have a crow as a pet.


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Subject: RE: BS: Birds & weather. The crows are massing.
From: olddude
Date: 10 Nov 11 - 01:35 PM

I am going to find one of those huge African tree frogs that eat birds. That will teach them a lesson


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Subject: RE: BS: Birds & weather. The crows are massing.
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 10 Nov 11 - 02:18 PM

If there's a crowd of them , they aren't crows, they are rooks. Of course that's in the British Isles. It may be different in Canada.


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Subject: RE: BS: Birds & weather. The crows are massing.
From: saulgoldie
Date: 10 Nov 11 - 02:27 PM

Crows may be massing. But bats are dying off.

http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=7373051n


http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/31/bat-fungus-dc-extinction_n_1067478.html


Saul


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Subject: RE: BS: Birds & weather. The crows are massing.
From: Beer
Date: 10 Nov 11 - 03:14 PM

I have 4 bat house and haven't seen any for about 4/5 years. I'm in Quebec which is just a little north of New York State. I'm beginning to think this bat problem is here as well.
Impressive video's.
Thanks Saul.
ad.


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Subject: RE: BS: Birds & weather. The crows are massing.
From: SINSULL
Date: 10 Nov 11 - 03:21 PM

Walked outside today to watch two crows trying to open my neighbor's trash can and get at the garbage. He drove up and I pointed them out. He pointed at my yard - full of turkeys. Plus the crows have gone grubbing on the front lawn leaving devastation behind.

Sorry about the frog, Dan. A shame he never had a chance to kiss a princess.
SINS


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Subject: RE: BS: Birds & weather. The crows are massing.
From: MartinRyan
Date: 10 Nov 11 - 03:30 PM

That starling video was on Lough Derg on the River Shannon in Ireland. I used to live and birdwatch in that area for many years and saw some extraordinary sights. Apart from starlings, I would occasionally meet vast flocks of Golden Plover in winter - which can produce some of the same smoke-like effects. One of the tributaries of the Shannon - the Little Brosna River - held a huge flock of Blacktailed Godwits every winter; I remember being down by the river early one spring, with the flood plain still inundated and finding several small islands (say a few acres each in size) simply black with birds gathering before heading off north en masse . Beautiful.

One of the great joys of birdwatching is that mix of individual and mass treats, so to speak.

Regards


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Subject: RE: BS: Birds & weather. The crows are massing.
From: Bettynh
Date: 10 Nov 11 - 03:40 PM

There's progress on identifying the bat problem


The news isn't good, and there are still a lot of unanswered questions.


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Subject: RE: BS: Birds & weather. The crows are massing.
From: gnu
Date: 10 Nov 11 - 04:15 PM

Thanks for the links. Very interesting. And impotrtant.


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Subject: RE: BS: Birds & weather. The crows are massing.
From: olddude
Date: 10 Nov 11 - 05:41 PM

I had a lot of bats flying around the yard this summer .. more than I generally see. I had a little brown bat fly in an opened back door ..
chased him around and he flew back out ...

I am glad to see so many this past summer. I hope it continues


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Subject: RE: BS: Birds & weather. The crows are massing.
From: gnu
Date: 10 Nov 11 - 06:41 PM

I used to occupy the young children with broomsticks up country. I would give them each a broomstick and tell them I would give them $5 for each bat they could kill. The bats had great fun teasing the children. The kids slept well due to the exercise. I never shelled out a dime.

There's only one easy way to catch bats that I konw of without a net but it's cruel. However, it was used up Kent County years back to catch large (and small) bats which were a source of food in the second last century. That's where I learned it. It was not often done but a hungry person will eat darn near anything so this knowledge helped some people survive... especially the elderly with no children to look after them.

Not much meat on a bat but there is enough. They taste like a duck but worse so ya reeeeally gotta be hungry.


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Subject: RE: BS: Birds & weather. The crows are massing.
From: Donuel
Date: 10 Nov 11 - 07:10 PM

Yesterday a sky river of crows passed overhead. It took 30 minutes for the entire flock to pass.


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Subject: RE: BS: Birds & weather. The crows are massing.
From: gnu
Date: 10 Nov 11 - 07:19 PM

They fly on this moon. The Blue Arsed Flies hatch on this moon. The last mating of deer happens on this moon. The moon rules... no matter what the naysayers say.


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Subject: RE: BS: Birds & weather. The crows are massing.
From: olddude
Date: 10 Nov 11 - 08:04 PM

Donuel
did one of them have a smug look on his face cause he had a belly full of frog ... The bastard, I will find that crow oh yes he will be mine.

:-)


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Subject: RE: BS: Birds & weather. The crows are massing.
From: Beer
Date: 10 Nov 11 - 10:30 PM

I have been fascinated with crows ever since my brother Norman raised two back when he was 14/15. He called them (what else but) "Heckle & Jeckle". Well Jeckle didn't live to long because brother was told that if you split it's tongue you could teach it to talk. Didn't work. Sorry for you bleeding hearts that are now pissed at what my brother did. But that was back in the 60's so report him.
Heckle however lived for many years and Norm would have a special whistle for him (or her)and he/she would come out of no where and land on his shoulder. It really was a special time.
Have a good listen to the following video and as much as I hate being awaken at 5 in the morning there is no bird more intelligent than the crow.
ad.


http://youtu.be/NhmZBMuZ6vE


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Subject: RE: BS: Birds & weather. The crows are massing.
From: GUEST,Eb
Date: 10 Nov 11 - 10:34 PM

In Oregon where I spent most of my life I never saw any ravens outside the mountains. I always liked them. In Juneau, Alaska, there are some here all year 'round but in winter all you see are ravens- the crows leave in the fall. Don't know where they go.

I get a kick out of ravens' self-important strut and their evident relish for life.


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Subject: RE: BS: Birds & weather. The crows are massing.
From: Beer
Date: 10 Nov 11 - 10:57 PM

Question Eb. And maybe you don't have the answer. But are ravens as smart as crows? We tend to group them all as one specie , but they are a branch or a relative to the crow or vise versa.
ad.


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Subject: RE: BS: Birds & weather. The crows are massing.
From: olddude
Date: 11 Nov 11 - 12:41 AM

ya but they will eat the frog right out of your genuine plastic water fountain on your front lawn. The greedy bastard. I only had one frog and it was his home ... then some crow gotta swoop down and eat him.


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Subject: RE: BS: Birds & weather. The crows are massing.
From: Little Hawk
Date: 11 Nov 11 - 01:07 AM

GREAT video, Beer! Crows are amazingly bright birds.


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Subject: RE: BS: Birds & weather. The crows are massing.
From: GUEST,Ebbie
Date: 11 Nov 11 - 02:32 AM

I think it is well documented that ravens are even smarter than crows. (Olddude, a raven might eat your frog but would probably bring you another as a replacement:)


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Subject: RE: BS: Birds & weather. The crows are massing.
From: Darowyn
Date: 11 Nov 11 - 04:03 AM

I've never thought of crows or rooks as migratory birds. Here in the Staffordshire Moorlands they seem to hang around all year, along with the jackdaws and magpies. I'd guess that corvids are the most plentiful species around here.
It is fascinating to watch their techniques fro getting seeds and peanuts out of the bird feeders we have put up for the little birds. It's also interesting to see that they wait and take turns with no squabbling.
On the other hand, the seagulls have arrived from the coast for a warmer winter in the woods on Congleton Edge.
Cheers
Dave


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Subject: RE: BS: Birds & weather. The crows are massing.
From: gnu
Date: 11 Nov 11 - 07:21 AM

Beer... "there is no bird more intelligent than the crow."

No way, quoth the raven. As Ebbie said, ravens are of superior intelligence (and physical prowess).

Darowyn. If almost all of our crows did not migrate, they would starve as there is simply not enough sustinence at -25C with 1.5m of snow cover.


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Subject: RE: BS: Birds & weather. The crows are massing.
From: Bettynh
Date: 11 Nov 11 - 11:13 AM

Have you folks read the books of Berndt Heinrich? His Ravens in Winter is about the puzzle of why ravens share food, seemingly against their own interests. And Winter World describes exactly how animals survive winter. Heinrich is (was? he's gotta be about 80) a professor at U. Vermont, and his first area of study was thermoregulation in insects, but his writing is wonderful.


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Subject: RE: BS: Birds & weather. The crows are massing.
From: gnu
Date: 11 Nov 11 - 12:49 PM

Gotta get me a copy of that one. I have admired ravens since I was a tad. Just read this at Wiki... Juvenile Common Ravens are among the most playful of bird species. They have been observed to slide down snowbanks, apparently purely for fun. They even engage in games with other species, such as playing catch-me-if-you-can with wolves and dogs.

I have seen them (and, once, a flock of ruffed grouse) play with a fox until it was exhausted but I've never seen them sliding. THAT would be cool.


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Subject: RE: BS: Birds & weather. The crows are massing.
From: GUEST,999
Date: 11 Nov 11 - 01:02 PM

About a week back, I saw snow geese fly and land in the river just above the rapids (class 2 water). Some of the adult geese led the juveniles down the rapids. It really seemed like a kids day off from the practice the had been undergoing in prep for the flight south.

I've seen a mountain chickadee and a nuthatch fooling around with each other, taking turns chasing each other. There was NO violence between the two, just a couple of birds having some fun.

There was a squirrel who would jump ointo the back of a mourning dove. The dove responded by fluffing its wings and giving the squirrel a dirty look. The squirrel would do it again and the dove seemed to play along and when the game was over, the dove flew off.

I've seen many instances of animals and birds engaged in play. Of course, one day the lion will lay down with the lamb, but one of them won't get a good night's sleep.


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Subject: RE: BS: Birds & weather. The crows are massing.
From: gnu
Date: 11 Nov 11 - 01:14 PM

I watched a young Spruce Partridge and a squirrel taking turns chasing each other. Partridge, grouse, are very fast on their talons. I wish I had carried a camera and videocam along with a gun all those years when I used to hunt.

A squirrel to squirrel game of tag is one of the best.


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Subject: RE: BS: Birds & weather. The crows are massing.
From: Bettynh
Date: 11 Nov 11 - 02:43 PM

There's a PBS documentary on ravens.. If your connection takes too long, there's a short beside the main screen of one rolling in the snow.


A funny youtube of a raven in the snow.


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Subject: RE: BS: Birds & weather. The crows are massing.
From: GUEST,Ebbiekeepslosingzecookie
Date: 11 Nov 11 - 03:01 PM

I've recounted this before but - once I saw three ravens and a juvenile bald eagle playing in a thermal updraft. They were essentially equidistant, going round and round, having a high old time.

After awhile the eagle broke off and flew away; the ravens closed the gap and kept circling.


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Subject: RE: BS: Birds & weather. The crows are massing.
From: gnu
Date: 11 Nov 11 - 04:10 PM

I watched two ravens pull a neat trick. A bald eagle came near their nest in a lone pine next to a bog. The male jumped off the nest and swooped in the opposite direction under the eagle. The eagle cocked his head to eye the male and flared his wings to turn to follow the male. The female did the same thing as the male, caught up to the eagle and nailed the eagle in the back of the head so hard it made his flight erratic. She cawed just before she struck the eagle. Upon her caw, the male immediately went up with great flapping of wings, inverted, looped and dove on the eagle, striking him in the back of the head. She did the same... he did the same. Six times the eagle was smacked in the head until it hit the ground.

They circled the eagle and cawed for about 30 seconds. I think they were telling the eagle to caw off. It did.

I got some stories I wouldn't tell here but ravens and moosebirds (Canada Jays) can be trained to aid a hunter.


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Subject: RE: BS: Birds & weather. The crows are massing.
From: Bettynh
Date: 12 Nov 11 - 08:05 AM

Heinrich tells stories of ravens helping hunters and, where there are no human hunters, wolves. Since they can't kill large animals, it's to their advantage to point out vulnerable prey to the big predators. In places where humans hunt with guns, they've learned to investigate gunshots for a possible meal. Historically, of course, they flocked to battlefields.

Our turkey vultures are still here. We never had them until after DDT was banned. Suddenly, sometime in the 1990s, there they were, nesting in a riverside park near the high school, cruising over the local landfill. At the dump, seagull population dropped from many thousands to a few hundred. The vultures have raised families. Last fall I counted more than 40 over the dump. They leave for a few months in the coldest part of the winter. Now, a cruising vulture in March is a sure sign that spring has arrived. I don't think Thoreau mentioned vultures. Do you see them at all in Atlantic Canada? It may be that they're extending their range north, as did the cardinals and mockingbirds = partly because of human activity providing food and city heat islands, and partly from global warming.


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Subject: RE: BS: Birds & weather. The crows are massing.
From: olddude
Date: 12 Nov 11 - 02:44 PM

some of the birdwatchers are down at the pier on Lake Erie here in town. I guess there is some black something or other arctic seagulls down there that are rare in these parts. Don't know what they are called. I have a close friend she is nuts about birds and her and her husband were telling me


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Subject: RE: BS: Birds & weather. The crows are massing.
From: gnu
Date: 12 Nov 11 - 02:53 PM

No turkey vultures here that I know of.


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Subject: RE: BS: Birds & weather. The crows are massing.
From: maeve
Date: 12 Nov 11 - 04:45 PM

Turkey Vulture Breeding Distribution Map


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Subject: RE: BS: Birds & weather. The crows are massing.
From: Beer
Date: 12 Nov 11 - 08:49 PM

The Turkey Vulture is a common sight here in Quebec. And I would say Bettynh that the 90's sound about correct.

Dan, one of the pristine birdwatching area's is on Pelee Island located on lake Erie. Don't know how far you are from it but it could explain your that particular sighting.
ad.


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Subject: RE: BS: Birds & weather. The crows are massing.
From: GUEST,Eb
Date: 12 Nov 11 - 11:30 PM

Turkey Vultures- I haven't read about them recently but it has always been my understanding that they are the clean up crew. Are we implying that they are predatory?


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Subject: RE: BS: Birds & weather. The crows are massing.
From: Bettynh
Date: 13 Nov 11 - 11:46 AM

I don't think the vultures were eating the seagulls, just outcompeting them in the sky and feeding at the dump. We're about 20 miles upriver from the ocean, so the gulls can go back to the shore. I'm happy to see the vultures, though. I think it means healing from the damage done by DDT. There's an osprey nest in the next town over, too. Thoreau did spot an osprey. He kept it secret, because the locals would shoot any bird they could, for food or because they were deemed "pests." Or just because they had guns. I dunno. I go back to Thoreau a lot, because he lived a few miles from here and describes places I know pretty well, but they've changed enormously in the past 150 years.


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Subject: RE: BS: Birds & weather. The crows are massing.
From: bobad
Date: 14 Nov 11 - 04:48 PM

A short video of a crow using three tools in sequence, without explicit training, to get a piece of food. According to the narrator this is the first time this has been observed in a non-human species: http://www.wimp.com/threetools/


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Subject: RE: BS: Birds & weather. The crows are massing.
From: maeve
Date: 14 Nov 11 - 05:49 PM

More about Ravens and Bernd Heinrich


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Subject: RE: BS: Birds & weather. The crows are massing.
From: gnu
Date: 20 Nov 11 - 11:24 AM

Well now, THIS is very odd. I didn't see THE migration... I saw one migration. At about 5AM I was wakened by cawing. I went to my kitchen window and saw about a hundred crows in my maple tree, the telephone and power wires lined with crows, the pine trees filled with crows and the apartment building(s) rooves behind my house covered with crows. I looked out the front window and it was equally awesome. Thousands of them.


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