SCV Outdoor Report: Crows In High Places
by Wendy Langhans
The other morning, as I
went out to get the newspaper, I spotted a crow’s nest in an unusual place -
behind a satellite dish on a neighbor’s roof.
I noticed that the roof was at least 30-feet high and my un-caffeinated
brain slowly put two-and-two together, “so that’s why sailor’s call it a crow’s
I think they borrowed that
term from landlubbers. Crows, like many other birds, often choose a high spot
to build their nest to observe their surroundings and protect their babies from
ground-based predators. Just so, sailors
build their crow’s nest in the upper reaches of the mainmast, in order to
observe their surroundings.
As I watched, I noticed a
movement inside the bowl-shaped nest.
One crow was shifting positions, while a second one was standing
motionless nearby, keeping watch. I
assumed they were the parents. Their
nest looked solid and secure; perhaps this was not their first year
together. They had to be at least two
years old (and more likely older than four) because crows do not breed earlier
American Crows build their nests out of sticks, mud and
grass. I noticed the nest was lined with
a white, fluffy material. A female crow
takes about six days to lay 3-6 bluish-green speckled eggs, that hatch after
about 19 days of incubation. So if all
goes well, we’ll see babies in mid-April
and fledglings in late May (30-45 days).
And since crows live together in multi-generational family groups, these
youngsters will grow up with their grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins
As a child, I remember
when my dad put rabbit-ear antennae on top of our black & white TV. It improved the reception considerably,
especially when he strung aluminum foil between the ears. I wondered - could a crow’s nest affect
satellite TV reception? My neighbor said
there was no change in her TV reception.
But she noticed her tiny
blue parakeet is much more nervous than usual.
And my cat, Mr. Bucky, is spending much more time on the back
porch. Just watching....
It may be a good thing
that nest was built as high as it was.
And it may be also be a good thing she parks her car in the garage. After all, bird scat is acidic.
Saturday, April 11,
9-11 AM. Wildflower hike at Towsley
Heavy rain cancels. For map and directions go here. Sponsored by the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority.
Saturday, April 18,
8:00-10:00 AM. Morning Bird Hike in
Towsley Canyon. Towsley Canyon is a year-round home for
birds. They like our Mediterranean
climate, the local bounty and the California sunshine. Bring your binoculars and meet at the
entrance. Heavy rain cancels. For map and directions go here.
Sponsored by the Mountains
Recreation and Conservation Authority.
Saturday, March 28,
and every Wednesday, 8:00 AM.
Trail Maintenance Volunteers at Towsley Canyon.
Come join our trail
maintenance volunteers for camaraderie and a heart-thumping workout. For
more information contact Steve Ioerger at 661-291-1565.
You can listen to stories
like this every Friday morning at 7:10 a.m. on "The Hike Report",
brought to you by your hometown radio station KHTS (AM1220) and by the
Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority.