Sunny, 11:29, 50’s, light snow last night
It snowed a wee tiny bit last night, just enough to coat everything with a dusting, just enough to allow Rev to try out his new sled at the closest park to our house. He said he was a baby polar bear and threw himself into “belly-boggining” over every available slope. There was a group of crows flying over and hanging around, and by their excited calls I’d dare to say they were as excited about the snow as Rev was.
You can set your clock by the crows that live around here. Our house is directly in the flight path that delivers them to the old, and very established roosting area at the edge of the city. Bordered on one edge by shopping mall and road and on the other by creek and a row of trees, the site has been a favorite wintertime roosting spot for centuries drawing upwards of 30,000 individual birds. The crows fly in right around dusk, and spend their evenings shoulder to shoulder nestled into the narrow strip of trees.
Biologists believe the roosting behavior serves a number of purposes. Protection, for one, from predators like owls who welcome the good hunting that long winter nights bring. It allows the crows to share information about the location of food and foraging areas. And it serves a social purpose, allowing allowing crows of varying ages to spend time with one another, socialize, learn about appropriate crow behavior, and meet individuals the crows would not normally meet during the rest of the year, when they exhibit much more solitary behavior, mostly living in small family groups and social bands.
Sometimes we visit the roosting area to see the great ruckus of the crows settling themselves in for the night, branches of bare trees disappearing inside a great cloak of bustling bird bodies against the backdrop of darkening sky.