Crows

I’ve been doing quite a bit of research into Crows lately, mainly the ones in my neighborhood, the American Crow Corvus brachyrhynchos. I have long been fascinated with their cousins, the Common Raven Corvus corax that I frequently encountered while working and recreating in the Mojave Desert around Las Vegas.

In accordance with what I’ve read and heard, they really like peanuts, unroasted and unsalted… Two days ago I threw some unshelled peanuts near a noisy group of about 10 birds that frequent the area between our building and the street. They dispersed and after about five minutes they flew back while I observed from about 25 yards away. After a couple of iterations of dispense, retreat, and return, they flew away after about 20 minutes. I went back inside after leaving perhaps a dozen unshelled peanuts where I was sitting.

Today (Saturday) about 10 am there was a loud chorus of Crow vocalizations that I recognized as ‘social calls’ from one of the videos I watched on Crow behavior research on the interwebs. I opened the door and there was a dozen or so Crows hopping around where I was sitting yesterday. “Hey, Peanut Human! We need more peanuts!” Not wanting them to think I was so easily trained, I waited about a half hour before going outside with more peanuts.

They won’t let me get closer than about 25 yards but they are very interested in peanuts. We’ll see where this goes.

links for 2008-05-07

links for 2008-02-05

Happy Yule Everybody!

Happy Yule, Yuletide, Yulefest, Yules, Jul, Juletid, Julfest, Jül, Jól, Joul, Joulu, Jõulud, Joelfeest, Géol, Feailley Geul, Christmas, Midwinter ,Winter Solstice, DōngZhì, Şabe Cele/Yalda, Soyal, Teḳufat Ṭebet, Şeva Zistanê, Solar New Year, Longest Night!

Feel free to choose your favorite. 🙂

In case you’re wondering, the 2007 Winter Solstice is Friday, Dec. 21, 2007, at 10:08 PM PST (Sat., Dec. 22, 2007, 1:08 AM EST, 06:08 UT).

Geminid Meteor Shower Peak Dec. 13, 2007

Saw this over at Follow Me Here and knew I had to pass it along. Thanks, Eliot.

Best Meteor Shower of 2007 [Yahoo! News]
Geminids Peak Dec. 13: “If you have not seen a mighty Geminid fireball arcing gracefully across an expanse of sky, then you have not seen a meteor.

…Studies of past find the “Gems” have a reputation for being rich both in slow, bright, graceful meteors and fireballs as well as faint meteors, with relatively fewer objects of medium brightness.

…Geminids also stand apart from the other meteor showers in that they seem to have been spawned not by a comet, but by 3200 Phaethon, an Earth-crossing asteroid. Then again, the Geminids may be comet debris after all, for some astronomers consider Phaethon to really be the dead nucleus of a burned-out comet that somehow got trapped into an unusually tight orbit. Interestingly, on December 10, Phaethon will be passing about 11 million miles (18 million kilometers) from Earth, its closest approach since its discovery in 1983.

The Geminids perform excellently in any year, but British meteor astronomer, Alastair McBeath, has categorized 2007 as a ‘great year.'”

links for 2007-08-14