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Posts Tagged ‘Corvus brachyrhynchos’

I have seen groups of American Crows (Corvus brachyrhynchos) harass eagles and hawks many times in the past, so whenever I hear the excited cawing of of crows, I immediately start to look for a large raptor. When this happened on Thursday at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge, I quickly spotted the dark shadow of a large bird in a tree and assumed that it was a Bald Eagle.

I was a bit shocked when I zoomed in on the bird and realized that it was a Black Vulture (Coragyps atratus), not an eagle. I had no idea that crows would chase vultures. Sometimes the crows would perch on branches of the tree close to the vulture and appear to try to convince the vulture to leave—this is what seems to be happening in the second photo.

At other times, the crows would aggressively buzz the vulture, flying right at the vulture and veering off only at the last second. I managed to capture the first image just as one of the crows appeared ready to attack the vulture from behind, but there was no collision. The vulture flapped its wings several times to try to scare off the crows, an action that did not seem to deter the pesky crows.  A short time later the vulture departed to search for a more peaceful perch.

Happy Halloween.

crow and vulture

crow and vulture

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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I love to stroll along the shore—the rhythmic sound of the waves relaxes me and often puts me into a contemplative frame of mind. When I spotted this crow on a recent trip to Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge, I couldn’t help but think that the crow too was lost in its thoughts and enjoying the same therapeutic benefits of a stroll at the water’s edge.

I must confess that I do not know my crows very well. I assume that this is an American Crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos), but realize that it might instead be a Fish Crow (Corvus ossifragus). From what I have read, even experts sometimes have trouble visually distinguishing between the two species, though Fish Crows are substantially smaller than American Crows. Apparently some people can tell them apart by their calls, but this crow was silent, so I too will remain silent and simply identify the strolling bird as a crow.


crow

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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Ordinary birds like this American Crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos) take on added beauty when surrounded by colorful fall foliage. (Photo taken 27 October at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge.)

The sky was blue, the light was beautiful, and the leaves were colorful—I really couldn’t have asked for more. Well, actually I was hoping to see a bald eagle on that particular perch, but was more than happy with what I got.

autumn crow

autumn crow

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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The soundtrack to my recent visits to the marsh has been the constant cacophony of a chorus of countless cawing crows.  The crows seem to be everywhere, swooping in large groups from one grove of trees to another.

I have tried numerous times to get some shots of these American Crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos) without much success, but recently I took an image that I like. The day was cloudy and heavily overcast when photographed this crow in flight. When I started working on the image the sky turned almost white. Normally, I would not have been happy with that result, but somehow this stark background works for me for this crow.

I thought about going completely black-and-white for this image, but I like the way that some of the feathers appear to be a lighter shade of brown. Is the crow molting, perhaps?

crow_flying_blog

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

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Walking through some of the parks here in Vienna, Austria, I couldn’t help but notice that the crows here are not at all the same as the crows in my part of the United States.

I am here in Vienna for work for a few days and have spent my free time walking through the parks, checking out the birds and plants.  Most of the birds that I see are pigeons, but I was really struck by the large black-and-white crows that periodically fly onto the scene.

A little research on the internet reveals that these are Hooded Crows (Corvus cornix), and not the  all-black American Crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos) that I am used to seeing.

The only camera that I have with me is my trusty Canon A620 point-and-shoot. It is compact, but its 4x zoom makes it less than ideal for capturing birds. However, several crows were relatively cooperative yesterday and let me get close enough to get these shots.

I’ll probably post a few photos of buildings in the next day or two, but wanted to let folks know that I am still drawn to seek out nature, even in the midst of a big city.

crow1b_blogcrow_frontb

Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

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