Thursday, April 05, 2007

They're watching me

I discovered today that the first wire hanger crow's nest I spotted (and wrote about here) is in fact not abandoned, as I'd thought. Today I spotted a couple of crows hanging around the area. They did not like it that I was looking at the nest, and did not fly to it directly. One of them tried to distract me by flapping around conspicuously in a different tree while the other tried to fly to the nest without me noticing. When I turned to see it flying into the tree, the other one joined it and then they both flew off a short distance. Finally I pretended to cycle away, stopped further down the road, and then came back just in time to see one of them flying up to the nest. I was not in time to get a photo of it actually flying in there, but did get a shot of its tail once it was in.

I suspect that at least one of the other nests down the road from there is in use, too, because I also spotted a couple of birds hanging around and pretending they had nothing to do with them. It is interesting to watch them doing this. They start doing weird things that attract your attention to themselves and away from the nests.

I noticed the same behaviour in the carrion crow (in the hippie nest), when the crow flew back but I was sitting too close to the tree and looking at the nest. The crow started flapping around foolishly on the power lines and pecking at the wires. If I looked away, the crow flew to the tree, but when I looked back it flew back to the power line.

Finally I went off a short distance to the bench I ususally watch from, which is a bit further away, and the crow instantly flew back the nest. That was when I first realized that the strange behaviour on the power line was caused by me. The crow did not like being watched from so close.

But the other day when I was at a safe distance (at least according to the crow) photographing that carrion crow returning to its nest, there was a man sitting right under the tree, reading a newspaper. The crow apparently did not see him as a threat and did not pay any attention to him at all. Crows seem to be quite good at interpreting human behaviour.

I have heard that crows remember faces, and that they can get quite aggressive when their babies hatch. I suppose I will have to be careful.

I think they know that I'm watching them.


apprentice said...

The hangar nest is amazing. I wish you could get a closer shot - bet you could hirer a bigger camera/lens for a day or something and get some great close-ups. i'm sure wildlife stock sites would be interested in the pix.

I've seen gannets make nests out of crisp packets.

Radioactive Jam said...

I imagine a time-lapse series showing hanger nest construction would be interesting. Do you perhaps own a tent?

Kay said...

Have your read Pilgrim at Tinker Creek? You and Annie Dillard have got to be soul sisters!

melanie said...

You now have me walking around looking up to see if I can find a hanger next near me. I'm sure that the neighbours think the local gaijin are just getting stranger....