Saturday, October 17, 2009

A Murder of Crows

We were back on the Chippewa River State Trail by the Hurlburt farm on County M.

Although the forecasters promised 60-degrees, the thermometer in my Prius didn't get much past 45. It was around 3pm and the sky was ominous: full of big and mean, gray clouds with the sun trying to break through the silver linings.

I heard a faint "who cooks for you?" coming from the red pines on the hill.

Did you hear it?  I asked Tom.  He stopped to listen.  A duet started.  "Who cooks for you?" coming from the south, answered by another "who cooks for you" just up the trail.   It went back and forth for about 10 minutes.

Barred Owls.

While it's unusual to hear them during the day, it's not unheard of.  We've experienced barred owl calls  on cloudy days in the late afternoon.

I hooted back, but they weren't fooled.

Minutes later a murder of crows arrived.  We've heard crows "mob" owls many times, but this was the most raucous ever.  I don't know how the owls put up with them.   It really did sound like they were committing the most horrific murder.

I expected the owls to take off - just to get away     from all the noise.  And for a moment, I was fooled... who was it the crows were mobbing?
I spotted the shadow of a raptor flying over my head - a Red-tailed Hawk.

The crows continued with their screams, confirming it was the owls they were mobbing - not the hawk.

The crows were still at it when we left 30 minutes later.

Songbird sightings:  Ruby-crowned kinglets, Fox Sparrows, White-throated Sparrows and Downy Woodpeckers.

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