Sunday, May 7, 2017
|Common Raven Photo by Alexandra MacKenzie|
By Christine Southwick
When you think of black-colored birds, do you think of Crows and Ravens? Shoreline has both.
Most everyone knows the “I’d rather-hop-than-fly” antics of the road-cleaning American Crow. These black birds “Caw”, have a smooth-looking throat, and squar-ish tail. They are usually seen with several other crows, and roost by the thousands every night at the Community College in Bothell. In the mornings they fly from the roost to their apparently designated foraging locations for that day, before returning each evening for their nightly social exchanges.
Photo by Christine Southwick
They have extra feathers on their throats making their throats look shaggy; have a wedge-shaped tail, and are usually seen with their mate, or solitarily, but not in flocks.
They avoid congested urban areas since they prefer quieter places — coastlines, high cliffs, and tall trees are good places to look/listen for ravens. They can be found eating large road-kill. The most reliable ID for most people is hearing their loud, usually resounding “Gronk”. Crows can’t make that sound. Ravens in flight will soar, whereas crows don’t.
|Red-winged Blackbird, male Photo by John Riegsecker|
Red-winged Blackbirds are seen in wetlands in the spring. Look/listen for them at Cromwell Park and Echo Lake, our two biggest cattail wetlands.
Paramount Open Space and Ronald Bog, or any other wild damp area could have Red-winged Blackbirds. The males puff up their red and yellow epaulets to impress the dark brown-streaked females and warn away other male Red-winged Blackbirds.
|Brewer's Blackbird, male by Stephanie Colony|
Our local population increases in the winter with Canadian populations flying westward to enjoy our milder winter climate. The males are the handsome ones with glossy feathers reflecting black, midnight-blue, purple, and greens.
They have bright yellow eyes and often have a pugnacious attitude. Being comfortable around humans, they will turn and stare at you, but they are not aggressive. The females are gray-brown with a dark tint, have dark eyes, and are often under-appreciated next to those handsome males.