Its been a mild and snowless winter to say the least, thus far. As a result of mother nature and the anti-American Crow roost efforts by the City of Albany, I don’t have the thousands upon thousands of American Crows in my back yard. Sure hundreds, if not thousands still fly over the house at dusk, likely to a roost site along the Hudson River near Troy. But the lack of these big bullies, have given their smaller cousin a chance to shine.
Each day about 8-12 Fish Crows take up residence in my backyard. They visit my poor excuse of a feeder, torment my dog and keep me informed of any local Red-tailed Hawks. The American Crows arrive shortly after dawn and set up camp a couple of yards down in my neighbors fen. There they bathe, drink and frolic as only Crows can do. Then there is this invisible line, a buffer zone, before my yard and my nasaled Fish friends. But it is an uneasy peace.
At times the bigger, bolder American Crows will cross the border, sending the Fish Crows into noisily into full retreat, there they wait until whatever had forced the American Crows into the yard to go away and slowly the Fish Crows return.
Fish Crow was a relative new bird to Albany when I moved into the City, over 10 years ago. Fish Crows have nested in my neighborhood (ironically away from water) nearly every year I have lived here, but only in the last few have they become part of the winter bird scene. However, my yard is not the epicenter. For that you must head over to Westgate Plaza in West Albany, where in the parking lots of the supermarkets you may find 20 or more Fish Crows, equally fighting for garbage among the Starlings, House Sparrows, Ring-billed Gulls and American Crows.
Watching the behaviors of any corvids is fascinating, but I find myself simply amazed by the actions of Fish Crows, as they have learned to co-exist with their cousins and as their population has grown, they have slowly, but steadily carved a niche for themselves amongst the city birds.
Perhaps I should write to the American Birding Association and suggest the Fish Crow as the bird of the Year?
As the Fish Crows would say…