Thursday, December 4, 2014

Crow Days

The apartment building next to our condo is one floor shorter than our own. Our windows look down on its roof, which is in such a sad state that deep puddles collect during any rain and remain for days afterwards.

This is a shame for the buildings’ tenants but a boon for birds. Almost every morning starlings gather on the roof to drink from and bathe in the puddles. One afternoon I saw a whole flock of robins doing the same, their bellies in the falling light as russet as autumn leaves.

Today I saw a crow bending to the surface of a puddle and was able to get a couple of pictures.

The pictures weren’t terrific, but they did let me see that the crow, unlike the other avian visitors, wasn’t just drinking: it was dipping a piece of something—bread, popcorn, or some other scavenged food—in the water, presumably to soften it before eating it.

Crows are smart.

They’re also fascinating. I love the way they move, the calls they make, and the challenge they present to photographers. This time I was at least able to capture more of its plumage than unyielding blackness—this time I was able to see the beautiful pattern on its back, almost like iridescent scales, and the metallic charcoal color of its beak.

It was the only crow I saw, but I’m sure I heard more of them. I regularly see a murder of five flying from tree to tree or harrying a red-tailed hawk. Once I counted 20 of them flying by, to what destination I couldn’t say.

If I had a lot more time, I would make it a year’s project to just photograph and draw crows. I don’t think I would get tired of them.

What animal do you think you could devote a year to?

{A note: I do write all text and take all pictures. Please do not reproduce either without my permission.}


biobabbler said...

Well, nothing sprang to mind immediately, but after 20 minutes of photographing earth star fungus, I remembered what group of animals I thought I might be inspired to study if I ever want to get a PhD. Not that I really would, I'm more of a terrestrial person, but NUDIBRANCHS and their DORID buddies are SO beautiful and SO intriguing and SO variable (appearance, size, location, time), I just adore them. I expect it'd be a pain, 'cause I'd want to know their ecology, not just do experiments in the lab, so might be impractical, but oh, lord, to spend more time with those magical, moonlight-seeking, TINY beauties would be SUCH a delight and honor.

So, there's that. I'm land-locked, so not gonna happen any time soon, but there ya go. =)

Olivia V. Ambrogio said...

I LOVE NUDIBRANCHS! If you ever have occasion to spend a year studying them, let me know, and I will join you.

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