Wednesday, December 31, 2014

A Second Look--December 31, 2014


I took a break from the holiday celebrations and did a Second Look yesterday. And what did I see? Crows. Crows are abundant this time of year coming in flocks to see what tasty things they can get out of the ground.

I didn't really think much about crows until a few years ago when I heard how smart they are. Some consider them to be the smartest of all birds (including parrots). They are the only birds that can pick a person out of a crowd. Also, they use and make tools equivalent to the abilities of chimps. One group learned to drop nuts off an overpass and let cars run over them to crack them open. The crows then waited for a break in traffic and retrieved them. The stories go on and on. And now my own personal example.

Ward and I were on vacation in Yellowstone National Park and had stopped by the main lodge in hopes of seeing Old Faithful. Also stopping in the parking lot was a large group of motorcyclists who were traveling across the US. We watched from our car as the crows waited for the cyclists to get off their cycles and go inside. As soon as they left, the crows descended onto the bags that were strapped to the back, opened the zippers, and looked inside. Sometimes they found something to eat and sometimes they didn't. Let me go back. Yes, they unzipped the bags. And it wasn't random. They seemed to know just the right angle to pull for the zipper to open easily.  To tell you the truth, I was more excited to see this than I was to see Old Faithful. (Although that was pretty impressive too.) I wish I had time to watch the crows in my yard these days to see what tricks they are up to. But that will have to wait for another time.

Here are a few of the crows I saw this week
 during a Second Look.

Notice the little feathers around the crow's bill.

Notice the white patches on the wing of this crow. This occurs in about one in every hundred crows.

If you look closely, you will see white patches on the right wing of the bird in flight. I don't know if it is the same bird as above or not.

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