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Thread: Crows and Ravens - Split from the Welcome Section.

  1. #21
    Goon Roolz itch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stigmatica View Post
    - I'm a bit envious. I was doing the same things before I got a dog. Peanuts and all. But it's interesting that they put dogs far higher on the fear scale than they do humans.
    I'm not all that surprised really. Dogs are generally quicker than humans are- they're still sort of a natural enemy I suppose, and sometimes they're a tool we use to hunt fowl. If you as a human don't have a history of harassing the crows then you would be a much lesser threat than any flavor/size of dog. Unless you happen to be carrying something they find threatening for whatever reason. My grandfather and I were discussing crows a while back and back in the day it wasn't uncommon I guess to shoot the odd crow on your farm if they were being a nuisance. The crows started to recognize the shotguns/rifles. He could be out somewhere on the property without one and the crows would be hanging around, but the moment a firearm was introduced to the equation they would split.

    Quote Originally Posted by stigmatica View Post
    I actually put some peanuts out this morning, with hopes. They're still there.
    It's strange nothing else has come along to pick those up in the meantime. Up here there are the birds, the odd squirrel, raccoons, rats. Probably skunks but I haven't seen or smelled any in my neighborhood this year. Something wants those... it just doesn't know they're there yet.

    Quote Originally Posted by stigmatica View Post
    Have you considered (I know it's crazy, but I thought of it at one time but never carried through) putting a microphone or cam (with microphone) at a perch location they use so you can get some of the interpersonal chatter recorded? I think the calls are pretty well known (just a matter of memorizing, and as you alluded to in your post, recognizing the source and target). But chatter, I think, is untapped.
    That would be a lot of fun. If I put a feeder in the front yard near the windows I could probably do something inside through the glass without having to set up and power something outdoors and in the weather. A Pi with a big battery in a plastic box with some fancy doodads would do that anywhere else in the yard I imagine. I would kind of like to move the ruckus to the back of the house... like... the birds are fun for a few minutes a day but gawd, the mess. I prefer to interact with the crows out front because it's more open, and the back yard is thick with neighborhood cats loitering around selling their crack and pimpin' their ho's. Or just waiting for my neighbor to feed them. Mostly that. Keeping the action out front keeps the risk down a bit for the crows. I feel bad when a cat gets a jay or a (filthy)pigeon but I'd feel worse if one got a crow.

    Definitely a neat project to add to the list of things to think about doing over some rainy days.

    I've definitely heard the crows make interpersonal chatter and most of what I have heard has been the clicking. Getting close to where they perch would be challenging, as this year they frequent the tops of the utility poles on either side of my lot. There's a big old maple tree in front of the house next door which I have seen them in once in a while, and another one across the street. Hmm. We got those fancy LED street lights which burn with the intensity of a bajillion suns all night long so it would be tricky getting devices planted without someone seeing me, even during the wee hours. This corner is pretty live at all hours.

  2. #22
    singularity precursor Limes's Avatar
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    Jackdaws seeing eye movements and reacting.
    Last edited by Limes; 10-06-2017 at 04:15 AM.

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  4. #24
    fuck the chupacabra Randall's Avatar
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    Before I adopted the goat, I used to use crows and ravens as avatars because they're awesome and I wanted everyone to know how edgy I am.

  5. #25
    Goon Roolz itch's Avatar
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    I've had some neat crow moments in the last week or so.

    When I am working from home I usually keep an ear out, and if I hear crows calling near the front of my house I will check if I can see them through a window. If I can see them, I might step outside with my bag of peanuts and throw some onto the side-walk one at a time to see if I can coax the crows down from wherever they're perched. Sometimes they'll come down right away and sometimes they won't. It all depends on what's going on at ground level which I'm not necessarily aware of. I do keep an eye out for cats lurking in any of the usual nearby blinds, but sometimes there might be a cat a couple doors down which I cannot see but they can, for example.

    First best crow lesson of the week: Sometimes it's safer to play in the street.
    One afternoon after some alarm calls (cat watch) I noticed two of the crows on the utility lines out front; one on either side of my yard so they could see between my house and my neighbours' houses on either side of me. I had a good look down both sides of my lot and didn't see any feline menace so I started pitching peanuts onto the side-walk from my front door step. After about 8 peanuts they still weren't coming down but the blue jays had no reservations and were cleaning up as fast as I could litter. I threw a peanut with a little too much force to land it on the side-walk, and it skipped onto the street. The crows actually seemed to acknowledge this one so I deliberately pitched another one onto the street. One of the crows descended onto the street, picked up the two peanuts then walked to the middle of the street and began cracking the shells open. By sitting in the middle of the street, the crows can see any ground predators coming from tens of meters away before they even get close enough to be a threat. I've seen them do this before, where they will collect peanuts closer to the yard and then re-locate to the street to eat them. I threw a few more peanuts into the street and the second crow came down and got them. Itch learns a new trick. I tried it again today with my neighbour as a witness and it seemed to work.

    One of These Crows is Not Like The Others
    During the first winter that the Crows started dropping by my yard for peanuts there was one which seemed more enthusiastic than the others; like that one Crow seemed to know what was going on when I came out the door, and it would perch on the edge of my roof within several seconds of my stepping into the back yard. I think I mentioned this one. It's hard to tell whether or not that particular Crow still visits - still can't tell who is who yet apart from body size... I know which ones are older and which ones are younger. I've noticed over the last few days that one of them gets significantly closer than the others. It will come right onto the lawn, or halfway up the front walkway to where I am standing on the front door step. If I lob a peanut to it, it will snatch it right up and wait for another one. It won't come within reach yet, but it does do this kind of sidestep towards me where it leans back and gets a little closer feet first. It's sort of cartoon-y. I'm wondering if this is the one who used to perch on my roof. Today when it got on the walkway I sat down on the front step and spoke to it while I pitched it some peanuts. It looked at me funnier than usual but didn't flee when I started making talk sounds at it from my mouthifice. I need to figure out how to tell it apart from the others based on cues other than proximity. This does bother me a little... I am toying with the notion that I should reeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeally sell my house and move the fuck into something I can be trusted to manage. This means leaving the crows behind and it would break my heart if I befriended one of them and then vanished on it. You can use language to explain it to your human friends but your animal friends never understand.

    Wildlife watches us like we watch the wildlife
    I think I've mentioned how the birds watch me here. Like, the pigeons descend into my yard from the roof two doors down if I can be seen outside the front of my house, and there was that one blue jay which bounced off the screen of my open front window one afternoon when I hadn't been forthcoming with peanuts - I presume it was trying to get my attention or was maybe intending to land on the window sill and shriek at me from there. If I walk past or stand in a window: birds show up.
    Today I was working from home and sitting in my usual spot in my "home office" which is at the back of the house and features a picture window which looks out into my back yard. I was doing my thing when I heard companion calls outside somewhere and so as I often do, I checked out the front windows to see how close they were. Didn't see anything. Went back into my home office and resumed what I was doing. More calls. This time I could tell more distinctly which direction they were coming from. Looking out my back window I could see that five of them were perched in one of the big trees behind my neighbour's house. They were pretty bunched up - usually they're spread out a little more than this. I watched them for a few seconds. One of them issued a companion call - I can't remember what the count was, and I tapped out a response on the picture window in the same cadence and count as the companion call I had just heard. Heads turned (coincidence?) and one of the crows flew off in the direction of the front yard. I walked to the front window and there was the crow on the lines out front. I went outside and put down some peanuts which the front yard Crow quickly came down to retrieve, and within a minute or two the others arrived from the back yard. So I don't know if that was just a crowincidence or if they were actually stalking me through my home office window.

    At the very least they're paying attention.
    stupid pancakes.

  6. #26
    Goon Roolz itch's Avatar
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    Yesterday evening saw the bottom of yet another huge bag of peanuts chez itch, so this afternoon I set out on foot to the grocery store with a very short list. Ultimately this became a whole other adventure in grocery item procurement failure but I did return home with a 1.25Kg bag of peanuts. I think I was back for about 2pm, so between 2pm and 6pm a mere ~6(?) blue jays and I think the same 5-6 crows managed to squirrel away more than half of the contents of the bag of peanuts. Maybe about two thirds of it. There are peanuts *everywhere*; they get carried off and hidden for later most of the time. I've run into strangers walking their dogs a few blocks away and their animals will be rooting around in the fallen leaves and we will have brief exchanges like:

    "Haha the best stuff is always under there!"

    "He keeps finding these peanuts..."

    "Ahh." (uncomfortable chuckle, move along itch.)

    Perhaps I'm having a little too much fun. Regardless of whatever my selfish motivations are, today I was rewarded with a couple of nifty behavioral observations.

    1) Crows seem to be interested in human dramas.
    I mentioned in the peanut gallery about the ambulance down the street. When that ambulance drove past my place on its way down the street I had been trying to coax a lone crow out of the big maple in front of my neighbour's house. A few minutes after the ambulance arrived, three more crows landed in the same tree as the lone crow. The new trio eventually came down to collect some peanuts but first two of them spent about five minutes perched on a utility line crossing the street, facing towards the excitement down at the far end of the street.

    2) crows can seem shy compared to other crows in the same murder.
    The lone crow who I was trying to coax down from the tree is certainly one of the "regulars". One of the group (and I think it's this one) seems to consistently keep its distance. It will come and take away some peanuts but it seems to stay on the periphery while the others dive right in. This doesn't feel like sentry or guard behavior... the body language is wrong: usually when I see a crow pulling lookout duty it's usually looking away from the others... checking out what's happening in adjacent yards from a really high vantage point. This one will consistently be in one of the nearby trees, not very high up and watching the others collecting peanuts. The others don't seem to treat it differently or pick on it or treat it like an outcast as far as I've seen, and though I may have seen some dominant body language and posturing used it may have been used against a different crow. It's definitely one of the younger crows. At one point, I had thrown some peanuts and it hadn't yet come down from the tree next door. The temperature was dropping outside, and the temperature of a hot coffee I had just poured moments before was dropping inside, so I decided to give it a rest. I took a big handful of peanuts out of the bag and walked right up to the tree the crow was in and dropped the peanuts on the ground. (sometimes this works with the others). To get there I had to go to the end of my driveway, which drew the attention of another crow who was perched at my end of the street. It swooped down off its perch and landed behind me in the driveway as I walked back towards my house. Seconds later the crow who wouldn't come out of the tree dropped down to the driveway and collected some peanuts. Earlier in the day I am pretty sure I saw the same crow drop out of the tree, snatch a peanut off the ground and hastily fled across the street and out of sight. The crow that came from the end of the street was definitely one of the older ones. I wonder if that's the young crow's maternal unit, and it was comfortable coming out of the tree and following its mom's example?

    I need to train myself to grab any device with a camera before I go to the door to play with the birds. It's difficult because I'm pitching the peanuts with one hand, and usually my other hand is full of either more peanuts to throw or the whole bag of peanuts - this complicates video because I need an additional hand, and because when I reach my free hand into the bag to get peanuts the rattling of the bag seems to be crazy loud.
    stupid pancakes.

  7. #27
    Goon Roolz itch's Avatar
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    It seems like the crows are finally finished with mating season? Usually during mating season they'll tend to hang out on their territories overnight, but when the season ends they'll all start roosting together at night. Like all of them. Last night for a couple of minutes I watched from a distance a seemingly endless murder of crows in flight headed NW off of the peninsula. That would be more crows than I have observed at one time in 20 years living here; never in the right place at the right time to see them going. Overnight I didn't hear any calls, and the odd call overnight wasn't uncommon just last week. So someplace, some distance West of here is a bigass crow roost at night.

    For the last half hour or so there had been a pair of crows calling 3 and 4 over and over. They were out front pointed East and South for a while, and then out back pointed West. They're gone now.
    stupid pancakes.

  8. #28
    Noble Asshole Horatio's Avatar
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  9. #29
    Goon Roolz itch's Avatar
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    One day late last week I had run out of peanuts and took a walk to the grocery store for more. When I was about a block away a crow croaked at me from a yard I was passing, and another one was on the roof of the next house. Suddenly from across the street a third crow swooped down and did a very close pass over my shoulder and joined the other one in the yard. I think those might have been "my" crows.

    (The jays are mobbing something out back... I think Cookie might be on the prowl.)

    The game has changed slightly with the onset of Fall. During their Summer visits the crows seemed more relaxed about the peanuts but now they are a bit quicker on the draw once they spot me outside. Mid to late afternoon they tend to be very busy foraging before roosting, I guess. They come back in the mornings- I know this because sometimes I'm conscious enough to hear them but I'm seldom out of bed in time to go see them. They don't tend to stick around to snack as much as before. One seems to indulge more "in the moment" than the others but I think they're primarily storing the nuts for later.

    I've spent way too much time (and peanuts) playing with them today but I can't seem to help myself. About fifteen minutes ago I walked past my front window to see 6 jays on my lawn, and when I threw a handful of peanuts out the door for them a crow appeared out of nowhere, then another. Then a neighbor's relative walked past and started a conversation. Even earlier this afternoon I walked by the front window and saw a crow on the lawn. The crow must have spotted me, and flew very close to the window and perched on the edge of my roof where it could peer at me sideways through the window. I went outside and the crow dropped onto my walkway and waited for me to dispense the goods.

    While they're getting more comfortable with my being in relatively close proximity, their body language certainly reflects how close it's ok to get. If I take a step too close, the crow takes a step back with this sort of... "offended"(?) backwards lean. But if I don't close in, I find I can crouch down and gently toss a peanut to a crow within 3-4' and it will come closer to pick it up. One of them is really bold in this regard, and two others will actually come right onto the lawn now and bully the pigeons off. Today I learned that one of them seems to have a preference for the little one-nut-per-shell peanuts. I think it has figured out that it can pack more of those in before it tries to fit 3 or 4 regular sized shells in its beak. It's interesting to watch them work... they first pick out a bunch of peanut shells, then arrange them in little groups. Then they figure out how to fit them all in their crop and beak based on size and the order in which they stow them. They'll try various configurations until they get one they are happy with and then fly off to cache the nuts somewhere.
    stupid pancakes.

  10. #30
    Member Mxx's Avatar
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    Have you considered one of those surveillance cameras? It would be cool to capture what you don't see when you are feeding them.

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