Tuesday, June 14, 2011

play date

These pictures of the crows on the bird bath were taken through a dirty window and screen.

The crows have basically taken over the big bird bath in front, chasing off the smaller birds. It's so hot and dry, the ground more and more dusty. They come flying in, landing on the edge or on an over-hanging branch, beaks open. They cluster in groups or come in singly, drink, maybe splash around and then fly away. Soon they are back.

They're acting a little crazy. The other day I was gazing out the window and a crow flew to a flimsy branch in the yew tree near the bird bath. It sat there doing bird things for a while and then it sort of keeled over and was hanging upside down from the branch. It hung there for a moment or two and then let go, falling to the ground. It righted itself before it landed but I didn't see that part as the wall blocked my vision.

I was telling Marc about it but I'm not sure he believed me and so I was watching the crows earlier today when one of them did it again. I called Marc's attention to it and while we were watching, another (the same?) crow flew to that same branch and after a bit of pecking at the branch, rolled over and hung upside down eyeing the ground until it let go and dropped head first.

Marc thought it had been eating a berry and dropped it and that's why it did that but they have continued to do it and always from the same branch. It's starting to look like they are doing it for fun. Which is sort of what I thought when I saw them do it the second time.

I can see it now...

'Hey Pete,' yells the crow, 'let's go play Hanging Crow.'

The object of which is to see who can hang upside down the longest.

Or maybe it's their version of Chicken.

Another crow flys/hops to the very tip of the branch. It bows immediately under it's weight and the crow rolls over, hanging upside down by one foot, wings spread, beak open.

Hey guys! Look at me! One foot!”

And then it drops to the ground.

Crows play.

Who knew?

I tried to get a picture of one of the crows hanging upside down but every time I would get ready with the camera they wouldn't oblige me.


  1. That is so weird and funny! Wow. My crows do nothing but eat Mr. Bucky's food [he's our squirrel].

  2. Sure, Ellen. Upside down crows ... Sure ...


  3. Crows are such social creatures; I bet they were playing! Acrobatics would be so fun if you had wings.

    Sounds like it is still a drought where you are. I hope that ends soon.

  4. Crows (and all corvids) are really smart animals. I've seen youtube vids of them doing incredible stuff like sneaking into a convenience store when someone opens the door, stealing a bag of fritos, escaping, then opening the bag with a found object like a paper clip. They don't even have opposable thumbs!

    They can recognize individual faces, too. They are amazing animals.

    I love the pics taken through the dusty windows, but I'm so sad you're still having to deal with the drought. Just now I faced Texas (I think I was facing the right direction; once I get the iphone I can definitely face where you are) and shook my rain stick with great passion and focus.

    May it rain!

  5. I've seen them playing Hanging Crow.

    Of course they play. They're very smart. Another thing they will do is play catch with themselves. They'll get a stick, drop it in midair, and catch it. They can do some pretyy amazing acrobatics, know they can, and relish in doing it.

    Goes to show you, taking pleasure in pure existence is of good survival value.

  6. oh, they are very clever, no doubt. I find it ironic that we scour the universe for other intelligent life when it's all around us here.

    I'm glad to know, John, that someone else has seen this game.

  7. What a cool event to witness. Crows are so intelligent. It wouldn't surprise me if they do play these games just for the sheer fun of it.

  8. What an amazing thing to witness, love the pics of them on the birdbath, I shall be watching crows with new expectations!

  9. Strange and interesting all at the same time!! Ha!!
    Congrats on your POTW

  10. Taking the pics through the dusty windows is cool, still having to deal with the drought is not cool!
    However, you have us! We all are here to support you!

  11. ellen i say hi to every crow i see. they always craawwwk as i pass them - telling each other about the guy on the bike. i'd like to think that they play. steven

  12. oh, i can relate to the drought woes... i'm up here SE of Dallas and everything's dry and crackly...

    the crow play sounds interesting! at first i thought maybe they were high on yew tree or something! :)

  13. haha. neat that you caught them playing...i guess we could all use a bit of fun...

  14. I love it! We have so enjoyed watching the birds in our back yard. And the squirrels doing their darnedest to get to the woodpecker food. Hilarious.

  15. Crows are so cool.

    Congratulations on your POTW!

  16. That's amazing! Crows are smart but creepy. They have a dark side to them, too. Congrats on your POTW!

  17. Ha! Well, crows have to entertain themselves, too, right? Congrats on your POTW from Hilary! ;)

  18. What a hoot! I've never seen a crow do that.

  19. Following via The Bug's blog/Facebook! I am a crafter, of sorts, too. Scrapbooking, papercrafts, and crochet.

  20. Pretty funny, they are very unusual.Crows are suppose to bring wisdom.


I opened my big mouth, now it's your turn.