When a murder of crows is a cacklin’, best look up

Thu, 06/08/2017 - 12:00pm

    CAMDEN — Being new to owning chickens that I’m raising for eggs, owning a 12-pound dog and surrounded by about 5 acres of woods at our new home in Lincolnville, I have learned to heed the chirps of squirrels and chipmunks and the noise of crows in the trees. Living on the coast, a soaring osprey can raise the alarm from seagulls, as can an owl that is discovered perched on a branch, scanning for a meal of a mouse or some other small creature.

    This morning, sitting in the offices of PenBayPilot.com, at 87 Elm Street, the noise of more than a dozen crows directly across the street drew my attention. And I was rewarded, when I spied a huge bald eagle in a tree overlooking Route 1.

    The crows were cackling and cawing at the eagle, in what turned out to be a vain attempt to get it to move on. A couple of times, an osprey joined in and flew overhead, soaring low to either take a look at what the fuss was about or to join in the fracas.

    For nearly two hours, the eagle sat there, occasionally having to duck one of the more brave crows as it flew across the back of the eagle’s head. So close were some of these passes, that I could see feathers on the eagle’s head rustle in the “whoosh” that the crow’s wings made. Or maybe it was the crow’s feet, trying to give the eagle a good knock on the head — but staying just far enough away to avoid becoming the raptor’s next meal.

    At its height, the noise of all the crows was impossible to ignore and drew others’ attention in the office building, and in the parking lots below.

    Maybe the eagle heard that Scott’s serves good fries, and that occasionally a bold crow can snag a bag of chips off the outside display rack and wanted to give it a go. In any case, the murder of crows working to monitor and harass the eagle eventually dwindled to three, and then without a sound, the eagle took flight and the crows did too.

    Get outside, it’s a beautiful day today. And for goodness sake, listen to what the birds are saying and don’t forget to look up. They are there, even when they are not making a peep.

    Reach Editorial Director Holly S. Edwards at hollyedwards@penbaypilot.com; 207-706-6655