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Field Notes: a Northwest nature blog

One of the reasons many of us live in the Pacific Northwest is the natural wonders that amaze us all. On this blog Seattle Times writers and photographers will share their explorations of the natural world from snowcaps to whitecaps. Write us at fieldnotes@seattletimes.com with your own sightings, questions and wonders to share.

June 16, 2011 at 2:29 PM

Baby crows on the verge! Bets anyone, on when they'll fledge?

Posted by Lynda V. Mapes

Here's the latest on the Fairview Avenue crows:

They have become much more active, as you can see for yourself on our live Crow Cam here on the Fields Notes blog.

Stretching, flapping their wings, taking walks on the branches around their humble abode, they are nearly ready to take on the world. But first: they must fly.

You can almost feel their eagerness, watching them, on tip toes (claws?) on the edge of their nest, flapping, peering over the edge of the nest -- but not... quite... yet... flying.

So, what's your bet on when they will (literally) take the plunge? And don't you think they need names? Leave your suggested names and bets on when they'll take wing in the comments section of this post.

I'll lodge my bet here: I think they are out of here by 10 a.m. Monday. As for names... We don't know their gender, so we need something neutral. Deadline and Headline?

Meanwhile, look how protective the parents are. Video, captured by Seattle Times news desk editor Laura Gordon, show the crows dive bombing an innocent passerby on the sidewalk along west side of Fairview Avenue.


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I tried a few test saunters, but was ignored. So it's hard to know what sets them off.

John Marzluff at the University of Washington has studied crows' abilities to recognize individual people and confirmed that they absolutely do mark people they think are troublemakers, and remember their individual faces. Here is a story by Sonia Krishnan, Seattle Times staff writer, on protective behavior by crows, and Marzluff's research on their ability to recognize individual faces.

Meanwhile, a Seattle Times feature writer coming to work early Thursday morning -- very early, before 6 a.m. -- reported encountering a crow sitting on the turnstile in the Fairview Avenue entrance to the building. Both writer and crow were surprised, and she graciously withdrew, walking to the John Street entrance to avoid bothering the bird. Was this mom or dad perhaps?

A debate continues to rage here at the newsroom over whether there are two or three babies in the nest. I'm convinced two, Alan Berner, our crack shooter who took the photo posted in the first crow blog post, photographed two babies. Assistant Managing Editor Jim Simon, who has the cat bird's seat on the nest, if you'll pardon the expression, looking at it right out his window, is convinced their are two. However Bob Payne, our guru of all things blog here at the paper, is convinced there are three. This may remain an unanswerable question.

The baby crows with their endless curiosity about the world remain an inspiration to me. They are continually testing their limits, but also seem to know when it's time for a good nap in the deep well of their nest. Wise beings.

We'll keep posting updates; can't believe it will be long before they fledge!

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