Bird's Eye View of Bute

The Carrion Crow

(1) Carrion
(1) Carrion
(2) Carrion
(2) Carrion
(3) Hooded with young
(3) Hooded with young
(4) Hooded with young
(4) Hooded with young
(5) Immature Carrion
(5) Immature Carrion
(6) Immature Carrion
(6) Immature Carrion
(7) Carrion
(7) Carrion
(8) Carrion
(8) Carrion
(9) Hooded
(9) Hooded
(10) Carrion
(10) Carrion
(11) A twinkle in its eye
(11) A twinkle in its eye
(12) Hooded
(12) Hooded
(13) Carrion
(13) Carrion

 

 

The Carrion Crow

Let’s take a look at another member of the crow family, “The Carrion Crow”.

But, this one that you see is a bit different from the norm; it has a white patch on its right wing. Nothing unusual to see this on a crow, as we see jackdaws blackbirds , and others, with a splash of white occasionally, but nevertheless it is well worth seeing and recording for future reference.
Unfortunately, I have lost this image of the crow with white streak.

This bird can be seen at the meadows at the cricket pitch, which it seems to be its favourite area to feed, or perhaps, if you believe in re-incarnation, it may have been a cricketer in a past life and has taken over the pitch, and is wearing a token of the compulsory “Whites”, and is now looking for a game? It makes a very interesting theory to say the least, but better not to dwell on these matters.

Back to normality, or at least make a brave attempt at it. The Carrion Crow is like the Raven; in fact it looks like a mini- raven to the unaccustomed eye, as every part of them is black. They can be found almost everywhere to the farmers’ fields, the beaches and in your garden, looking for food, which can be carrion, (dead things) other birds, eggs, insects, worms and grain. They survive, as they eat a wide variety of things. They can be very aggressive in their search for food, and will much prefer to steal other birds tit-bits. To see them on the shores is a lesson on survival, as they pick up a muscle or cockle etc., and take them up into the skies and drop them on the rocks or even on the road to break them to get into the juicy flesh that awaits them inside. This dropping from a height has been recorded for a long time, but I don't know if they learnt it from the gulls, or visa-versa. If they have no shores to feed on they will frequent land-fill sites, and fight the gulls for any tasty morsel, but our landfill on Bute closed years ago, which means that these birds had to look for pastures new.
Unlike the rook, they nest solitary, and not as high in the tree as them, preferring to be alone at this time, and indeed at most times, but can still be seen mixing with others when it suits them.
I will also cover the “Hoodie” Crow this time as they are sub-species of the Carrion Crow, and live and breed in harmony with each other, so much that they interbreed and their young have intermediate plumage patterns, which may add to the confusion when trying to identify them. The Hoodie has got a grey body and black wings. They behave in the same way as each other, and there are plenty of them about for you to spot.
After feeding, they get their kicks by giving the Buzzards a hard time by dive bombing them, either by themselves or in pairs. It is quite entertaining to watch for a while until the buzzard turns upside down just as the crow is about to make contact, when the sight of a large pair of very sharp upturned talons just in front of them, the crows think better of it and exit stage right, till the next time.
Back to the meadows Carrion Crow. It tried to take on a Buzzard all by itself, but it was knocked for six. It decided that it was better to leave them alone, and returned to the pavilion 'Not Out'

Norrie Mulholland.

First Published in the Buteman 22-04-2005


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