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Posts Tagged ‘crow’

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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I’ve seen crows harassing hawks and eagles, but I’d never seen a crow being chased off by another bird until this past Friday at Huntley Meadows Park, when I witnessed a Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias) flying after what appeared to be a crow. After the heron caught up and forced the crow to depart, the heron appeared to be squawking a few words of warning not to return.

heron and crow

heron and crow

heron and 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?

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© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

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Trying to avoid an all-out turf war, the leaders of the Crows and Vultures agreed to meet, but the negotiations quickly started to break down.  What happened?vulture_crow4_blog

The leaders had agreed to meet alone in the middle of a snow-covered field.

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However, the Crow leader had brought reinforcements with him and the Vulture found himself outnumbered.

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Not wanting to show any fear, the Vulture leader decided to flex his muscles and extended his mighty wings. The Crows were not impressed and would not agree to any compromises.vulture_crow3_blogThe Vulture leader started to feel a little uncomfortable as he felt someone creeping up behind him and turned quickly to face the potential Crow assassin.

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Clearly, these negotiations were not going anywhere and the Vulture leader headed back to announce to his subordinates that a full-scale turf war with the Crows was about to begin.vulture_crow7_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.

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Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

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I was looking up in the sky watching a hawk soaring through the air this past weekend when I noticed that there was another bird there too, a black bird that I eventually identified as a crow. The two of them seemed to be soaring on the same updrafts, each virtually mirroring the movements of the other. My first thought was that they must be having a lot of fun, gliding along together. When I looked at my photos, though, I realized that a more serious drama probably had been taking place at high altitude.

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Now, I have never had a hawk come rushing at me with talons flashing, but the crow seems to have decided that it was probably not a good idea to wait around and see what the hawk’s intentions are. The hawk began to chase the crow, it appears, and the crow took immediate evasive action. As far as I can tell, the crow got away. Here are some shots that I took of the chase. They are not very high resolution, but they help illustrate a fascinating encounter.

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Since last weekend when I took these shots, I’ve done some research on the internet and learned that crows and hawks don’t get along very well and each has been known to pester the other. I’ll keep my eyes open now for any additional encounters between the two species.

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

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The skies turned dark and gray this morning and rain gradually turned into snow, a wet snow with large flakes that quickly covered the ground. It snowed hard for an hour or so, but the snow clouds eventually blew away and sunshine arrived to destroy all of evidence of the snowfall.

As the snow was falling, however, I went walking through the neighborhood with an umbrella in one hand and my camera in the other. Wondering if I would see any birds (I had visions of brightly-colored cardinals on pine branches against a backdrop of snow), I heard the unmistakable sound of a crow. It wasn’t hard to locate him and as I was focusing on him he took off. Mainly on instinct, I snapped a photo and got an interesting photo.

It’s a moody, dark photo that is perhaps a little ominous.  The crow seems to be a perfect match for the rest of the elements of the scene.

I’ll have to wait for another time for photos of beautiful birds in the sunshine with glistening snow.

Crow in the snow

Crow in the snow

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

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Yesterday I went out to a local garden with the monster Mamiya 500mm telephoto lens mated to a Nikon D300 to see if I could get some reasonably focused shots. A few days ago I did a posting outlining my initial difficulties in mastering the requirements of shooting in a totally manual mode and I wanted to see if things would be a little easier for me.

It was once again a lot of fun experimenting and I tried taking shots of a wide variety of subjects, including soccer-playing kids, flowers (yes, flowers with a 500mm lens), and a rabbit. Other than the rabbit, I had only limited success. The real test for me, though, was whether I could capture some shots of birds. I noticed a couple of birds perched high up in a tree in a relatively open area and I was able to set up my tripod on the grass and began to make a few exposures. The birds were far enough away that they were not distracted by the sound of the shutter and they stayed in place as I made adjustments. Here are some of my best shots of a crow (I cropped him so you can see the details, including the catch light in his eye) and a mourning dove. I am also including a shot of a bird that almost got away. He flew away just as I tripped the shutter and ended up in the lower left hand corner of the image in an unusual position. I decided also to post a shot of a rabbit that seems to have some personality. In this garden setting, it was the wildest animal to be found.

I have satisfied myself that it is possible to get some good images with this setup, although it requires both patiience and persistence. Is it worth the additional aggravation? My friend, Cindy Dyer, for whom I am testing this configuration will have to make that call for herself.

Close-up of a crow

Mourning dove

The one that almost got away

Rabbit on the grass

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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