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Thursday, June 26, 2008

The Birds

posted by on June 26 at 13:05 PM

This just in:

Sort of a strange, timely tip, but: Just north of 15th and Dravus, West side of the road, in Interbay, there is a copse of trees being aggresively defended by a murder of crows. There’s an injured baby on the sidewalk below. The crows are divebombing pedestrians—a very Hitchcockian sight. A sort of boring tip on its own right, but the baby is weaving in traffic on 15th and probably in mortal peril; if any aviophile Good Samaritans need a Thursday afternoon crusade, now’s your time.

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Took me a reread to not think of an injured human baby rather then a crow baby. Now that would be surreal

Posted by Bon Scott | June 26, 2008 1:10 PM

a copse of trees/murder of crows.

how, erm, poetic.

Posted by blipblop | June 26, 2008 1:16 PM

It's June. The crows are teaching their babies to fly as they have done every June for millenia. Grab you binoculars and experience an Audabon moment.

Posted by timohy | June 26, 2008 1:19 PM

Oh dear; I hope the baby crow is OK. I don't know that there's anything a human Samaritan could do without being viciously attacked by the crow family.

Posted by Levislade | June 26, 2008 1:20 PM

i was stalked and attacked by a particularly grumpy crow this morning in Georgetown as i walked to the bus. the asshole kept skimming my head by inches. i tried punching him on one of the passovers, but missed.


Posted by diggum | June 26, 2008 1:22 PM

I was divebombed by a bird this morning as well, not a crow, but a little black mini-crow thing. It scared and annoyed the crap out of me simultaneously. Then, later, after making it to work in one piece, I was divebombed by a crow. I hate crows. Sorry, but I hope this baby crow dies.

Posted by rtw | June 26, 2008 1:31 PM

I was attacked by nasty looking freak crows near my house by volunteer park.

One of them was bloated and freakish.

It was sick, and it gave me nightmares that night.

Posted by Andrew | June 26, 2008 1:32 PM

I've never been much of a fan of crows either. But especially not at 5:00 a.m. when they decide to camp out near my bedroom window and squawk their brains out.

Posted by Fifty-Two-Eighty | June 26, 2008 1:33 PM

@3 has the answer...

Posted by Timothy | June 26, 2008 1:37 PM

The thing is, there's not really much a human CAN do in this situation. If left on its own, the fledgling may get squashed flat, but most people who aren't familiar with the way birds behave may attempt to "rescue" it, as in take it home thinking (mistakenly) that it's been injured and fallen out of its nest by accident, which is generally not the case.

At best, if you have to move it out of the street, do so as quickly and expeditiously as possible within sight of its parents - who WILL divebomb you so long as you remain in the immediate vicinity - and then leave it alone.

Posted by COMTE | June 26, 2008 1:43 PM

Crows are the least of the worries. RTW, I am thinking yours was a red-winged blackbird.,0,6011253.story

Posted by P to the J | June 26, 2008 1:45 PM

It could be worse. At least it's not a murder of Deep Crows.

Posted by Scalpel | June 26, 2008 1:50 PM

Belltown's(that I know of), murder is on 2nd by Seattle Wine Celler and on the other side by Kinko's. I've been divebombed twice so far this year. Scary shit.

Posted by BelltownBird | June 26, 2008 1:51 PM


Posted by Greg | June 26, 2008 1:52 PM

Ah man, you people getting attacked are SO lucky. I love birds and animals, especially if they get all crazy like that. Oh please oh please let one of them buggers swoop down on me later today. Serious.

Posted by Damien | June 26, 2008 1:54 PM

Now a wounded baby deep crow weaving through traffic would be a real problem.  COMTE's advice @10 would not apply.

Posted by lostboy | June 26, 2008 2:02 PM

They aren't wounded. The parents throw the kids out of the nest where they hop around for a week or two and have to fend for themselves. You'll see them hiding in the bushes or hopping around looking like they are injured (but they're not). If you pick the baby crow up (and don't get attacked by the parents in the process) they will abandon their kid and it will die on its own.

and for what its worth - I saw an epic CROW VS SEAGULL BATTLE ROYALE last year at 12th and Yesler outside the Pho joint. At least 200 of each fighting over the dumpster of chicken bones. Cool stuff.

Posted by bobcat | June 26, 2008 2:06 PM

i luvv naughty crows.

Posted by tiffany | June 26, 2008 2:14 PM

Perhaps what is needed is an intrigue of kittens to keep the crows at bay. Winged distractions could be provided by a charm of finches or a scold of jays. Who wouldn't delight to see a shrewdness of apes join in the fun?

Posted by Hammond Smythe-Wooster | June 26, 2008 2:18 PM

I too am being stalked by a few crows, or at least one. Along the waterfront, one more than one occasion, they have swooped down at me. One made several attempts while I kept walking. He was definitely following me. I tried to trick him into following me into a building, but he was too smart.

I also watched them from afar and they weren't attacking other people. I don't know if I just need a haircut or I have a funny walk or what. Please help.

Posted by stinkbug | June 26, 2008 2:19 PM

Meanwhile, Cameron Crowe continues to make atrocious films that compel you to commit murderous acts upon viewing them...

Posted by michael strangeways | June 26, 2008 2:26 PM

@5 - When I lived in Georgetown my roommate was attacked by a murder of crows as he was coming back from Herfy's... They followed him all the way home, swooping and cawing at him. He thought they wanted his Herfy fries -- they didn't get any. Ha!

Somebody told me that there are only two crow families in Seattle: one based at Volunteer Park and another based... somewhere else (sorry, I've killed too many brain cells this week). Two giant crow families, is what this person was saying. Does anyone know if that's correct? Are there only 2 crow clans in Seattle?

BTW, crows rule!!!

Posted by merry | June 26, 2008 2:32 PM

I'm being stalked by some crows that I've been feeding off and on who want MORE. They come right up to me on the patio and march up and down the trellis, cawing and giving me the eye. I think they're also kind of interested in eating the finches that have nested in one of our trees. Crows are delightful birds, but they are cold-blooded killers.

I see epic battles between a dozen or more crows and the bald eagle that lives at Green Lake all the time; last weekend the whole convoy of them crossed directly over the house at about 30 feet, which was unbelievably awesome. I think the bald eagle eats their babies the same way they do the finches. At that range he looks like a small plane.

And all of this is happening a block off Aurora. I sometimes wonder of the Green Lake baldie flies over the zoo sometimes and taunts the caged on they have there. Some things about Seattle do not suck.

Posted by Fnarf | June 26, 2008 2:33 PM

yeah Fnarf, every year birds set up nests outside our loading docks and every year the crows would eat all the babies. There are literally piles of baby bird bones in the corner of the docks every summer.

Crows are smart, bottom line. There was a UW study on them years back where they tagged a bunch and followed their habits. Not only did the little bastards ditch the tags, they learned from the experience and knew to avoid the traps so others couldn't get tagged.

Posted by bobcat | June 26, 2008 2:40 PM


Well, if you can roll a good d20 for hit points and maybe take off a couple of talons...

Posted by COMTE | June 26, 2008 2:45 PM
Posted by paul in Kirkland | June 26, 2008 2:49 PM

I'd seen crows dropping nuts at intersections so that cars would crack them on Attenborough's show, but then I saw one do it in real life right outside my house.

I love crows, hate squirrels, hate sparrows and starlings.

Posted by Fnarf | June 26, 2008 3:00 PM

5 years ago the local raccoons chased my kitty 40' up a neighbor's skinny conifer, where he was dive bombed by the local crows at sunset before i paid "pro rover" $75 to use logging gear & climb up there & haul his ass out.

there's TOO MANY CROWS in seattle - like there were too many canada geese before the gooseocaust.

Posted by max solomon | June 26, 2008 3:01 PM

@28 - you know whats weird about Canada? I mean other than "oot" and "aboot" to their "hoose", but there are black squirrels up there all over the place. Head to Stanley Park and they will practically crawl up your leg. There's some in Bellingham but it's like they have some tinfoilhat group to eradicate them before they come further south.

Posted by bobcat | June 26, 2008 3:08 PM

Crows ARE really smart; Ravens, even smarter.

Re: the post, I saw the opposite a few weeks ago. A couple of crows were working over what looked like a baby sparrow, on its own on the ground. They were tag-teaming it with a selection of hard pecks. The thing that astonished me was that in addition to a few sparrows swooping in on and squawking at the crows were also three Robins and a Starling working against the Crows, too. They were teaming up.

I chased the Crows off and rewarded them for their fucked-offedness with some panini. A delightful compromise it was.

Posted by Lloyd Clydesdale | June 26, 2008 3:10 PM

Fnarf @27, agreed, crows are cool.

I'm not with you on the squirrels, though.  I was labeled "bright eyed and bushy tailed" so consistently as a kid that I just can't bring myself to dislike them.

Posted by lostboy | June 26, 2008 3:13 PM

You love crows and hate sparrows and starlings? You must email me and tell me why?

I hate pigeons because they are so messy and we have too many around here.

Posted by mj | June 26, 2008 3:15 PM

I love me some crows. At lunch today I was sitting on a bench on campus. There was a clearing right in front. One crow flew down and I threw her a chip. Then I threw another chip and a huge one flew down. I could tell that this one was the boss. She was trying to crack the chip by spearing it with her beak. Then a crow that looked kind of fuzzy and smaller than the other two flew down. I realized that that probably was their baby. She started feeding it right in front of me. So sweet. Crows Rawk.

Posted by PussyDunkinHines | June 26, 2008 3:17 PM

I hate crows. I think they are getting more aggressive. I've seen more epic battles this year between the crows and pretty much every other bird in my yard than I ever remember seeing. They took down a blue jay in my driveway last week. Of course if they go after the mean ass raccoon I'll gladly shut up about them. And they can have at the beady eyed fearless squirrel too...

Posted by PopTart | June 26, 2008 3:27 PM

Pidgens and sparrows are not indigenus to north America. Crows are beautiful creatures that don't belong in the city. The city isn't a natural environment. I wish I could save the baby but I have a love bird and I couldn't chance giving my little buddy some infection. Please save it somebody. Dan, let us know the outcome.

Posted by Vince | June 26, 2008 3:29 PM

I love crows, but they are total dicks at the same time. I was out riding my horse and one snatched a baby robin right out of its nest. I yelled at it when it flew over the spot where I was riding and it dropped the baby robin so I scooped him up and rode home with him in my pocket.

He was amazingly uninjured so I took him to PAWS wildlife center, gave them a donation and let them take care of raising him as I'm sure he had a much better chance there than if I had tried to take care of him. PAWS wildlife center is pretty awesome. I also took them a baby flying squirrel that I found when I was a kid and they even sent me a little letter when they released him. I sorta wish I had kept him cuz he would cuddle up with me on my shoulder and fall asleep. SOOOOO cuuuute. But I'm sure he was much happier flying around wild in the trees.

Anyway... Moral of the story is, take injured/abandoned animals to a wildlife center instead of trying to take care of them yourself. They're much better off.

Posted by Queen_of_Sleaze | June 26, 2008 3:41 PM

I'm fascinated by folks' struggle to relate to animals (myself included). The predominant temptation is to attribute human motives and emotions to animals, usually quite inappropriately.

Posted by Jimmy Jackhammer | June 26, 2008 3:41 PM

What amazes me is any animal's incredible focus on meeting daily needs and understanding seasonal patterns in the quest for survival.

You don't really get that with pets or zoos.

Posted by Lloyd Clydesdale | June 26, 2008 3:51 PM

Those cute dark brown squirrels in Vancouver are close to extinction, actually, @29. I don't know when the last time you were up there was, but just in the last decade the numbers have declined precipitously. They're being driven out by the same thing that drove them out here: goddamn Eastern Gray Squirrels, spawn of Satan.

MJ: House sparrows and starlings don't belong in North America, as @35 points out. Starlings, in particular, are pure evil. Every starling in North America is a descendant of a batch of 100 birds released in Central Park in 1890 by a shithead named Eugene Scheiffelin, who believed that it would be a good idea if every bird mentioned in Shakespeare was in the USA. Since that time they have marched across the continent, relentlessly driving out native songbird species. They've killed humans, too; a cloud of 10,000 of the fuckers brought down a commercial airplane in Boston in 1960. BAD BIRDS. EVIL BIRDS.

House sparrows are their baby cousins, not quite as evil because not quite as predatory. But they should still be stamped flat with vigor and malice -- if you care anything for finches and juncoes and wrens and chickadees and tits and all the other lovely singers.

Squirrels are evil because they steal your birdseed.

Posted by Fnarf | June 26, 2008 4:02 PM

Fnarf @39:

Squirrels are evil because they steal your birdseed.

As a teenager, I once drank about a quart of hummingbird food, having mistaken the pitcher in the fridge for fruit punch.

In my defense, it was very late at night, and I had just bicycled home from my part-time job up a big frakkin' hill.  Otoh, not once in my life had my parents ever made any kind of fruit punch....

Posted by lostboy | June 26, 2008 4:26 PM

Pretty much the same thing as Kool-Aid, right? Water, sugar, and red food coloring. Still, you must have looked like a fool lapping an entire quart out of one of those feeders.

Posted by Fnarf | June 26, 2008 4:55 PM

There are plenty of crows in Seattle, we don't need another one, especially one that failed its first flying lesson.

Posted by Zach | June 26, 2008 4:57 PM

Fnarf @41, more or less, yeah, but much more sugar, and different.  (I specifically remember thinking, "whoa, fructose!")

Posted by lostboy | June 26, 2008 5:06 PM

Hey - just wanted to correct a common misconception (I'm an ornithologist): most bird parents are loathe to abandon a baby. The "if they smell you on the baby bird then they will abandon" idea isn't often true. They've put a lot of effort into it; a nestling and especially a fledgling is a very very valuable investment. So no, most birds will not abandon a nestling or fledgling simply because you have touched it, or simply because they have seen you near it. It IS possible, but if the baby is at least a few days old, they reeeeaaaaally want to keep it. So, if you find a nestling that's been recently dumped from a nest, and you see parents that are still around, the best thing you can do is PUT IT BACK IN THE NEST. Unless of course, you think there is a crow that is going to come back for more. In that case, and in the case that you want ittle birdy to live, only THEN take it to animal rescue.
The fledgling crow in the road? Yeah, someone should grab it quickly, put it somewhere nearby with less traffic, and the parents will gladly follow it and feed it. They might wait a while (that's the safe thing for parent birds to do when they've seen something "threaten" their kid...they will come back later). Or, they will scare the crap out of you with divebombing.

Posted by onion | June 26, 2008 6:38 PM

I totally thought Dan was talking about a human baby weaving in traffic.

Posted by Steagle | June 26, 2008 6:52 PM

So what the hell happened to the baby crow in the road? Sloggistas wanna know....

Posted by merry | June 26, 2008 9:40 PM

This makes me recall "Fred",my neighborhood crow from a few years ago.I first met Fred when he narrowly missed my head when I was getting in my car one day (scared the crap out of me).Later I watched from my porch as Fred would go from house to house and visit with my neighbors, who would hold him and give him snacks.He eventually would come to my house and visit me on the porch.I thought that his visits were just the damnedest thing I had seen. I fed him cat treats while my cat, who wasn't much bigger than Fred, would only look on with great curiosity at this amazingly bold creature.The kid across the street tried to beat him with a broom one time.(stupid punk).Fred didn't come back the next year, but my neighbors still talk about our old friend Fred.

Posted by lawrence clark | June 26, 2008 11:12 PM

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