Counting crows. Or, I should say, corvids.

Is it 18 or 19? I’ve counted multiple times and still can’t decide whether there are 19 or only 18. Just in case, I’ll give you another:

A blue jay isn’t a crow, but blue jays, like crows, are corvids.

Corvidae is a cosmopolitan family of oscine passerine birds that contains the crows, ravens, rooks, jackdaws, jays, magpies, treepies, choughs, and nutcrackers. In common English, they are known as the crow family, or, more technically, corvids. Over 120 species are described.

Blue jays, included. I’ve been reading up on corvids, mostly because we spent weeks of this on-going lockdown watching blue jays build a nest and raise their young in a bush outside our front window. We were fascinated and amazed by their perseverance, devotion, and cleverness. They weathered spring storms and foiled a determined squirrel that tried hard, but failed, to raid the nest of its eggs. Corvids are particularly known for their intelligence.

Corvids are incredibly clever overall, with the largest brain-to-body-size ratios of any birds, but those in the genus Corvus tend to be especially brainy. …

Humans have long recognized the craftiness of crows and ravens, as seen in centuries of folklore casting the birds as thieves, tricksters, problem solvers,wise advisors to gods, or even deities themselves. … 

In Aesop’s Fable “The Crow and the Pitcher,” a thirsty crow encounters a pitcher with a little water in it, but is initially thwarted by the low water level and the bottle’s narrow neck. Then the crow starts dropping pebbles into the pitcher, however, eventually raising the water level high enough for it to drink.

Not only has research verified that crows can do this, but it shows they can pass the water-displacement test at a level similar to human children between the ages of 5 and 7. …
They can also plan their tool use, according to one study in the journal Current Biology, which found crows could solve a metatool problem when each step was out of sight of the others, planning ahead three behaviors into the future.

You may not want to play chess with a corvid!

Our blue jays also seemed quite canny. I became convinced that they chose the location of their nest because of, not in spite ofproximity to our front window and door. Other birds, squirrels, raccoons, and possums are wary of us humans. The aforementioned creatures abound in our neighborhood and all pose threats to eggs and newly hatched baby birds. Few ever come very close to the bush where the blue jays built their nest, right outside our front door. In that way, I’m convinced, we provided an extra layer of protection for the baby birds.

The jays seemed to have decided early on that my spouse and I weren’t a threat. When we first noticed them building the nest, we feared we’d have to go in and out the back door until the babies fledged or else get dive-bombed, but not so. The parents apparently learned to recognize us. They went about their business even when we stood right there on the porch, watching them fly up, bringing worms and other delicacies to feed their babies. However, when other humans–a neighbor, the mailman–approached, they set up an almighty ruckus.

Stay away!!!

This story has a happy ending: Both babies fledged successfully. We still see them flying around the neighborhood, in the company of their parents, a gang of four.

Blue jays form life-long, monogamous relationships. Both parents participate in raising the young, with the male even feeding his mate while she sits on the eggs. Then the entire family hangs out together throughout the  ensuing summer.

Crows are another particularly interesting member of the corvid family. Ever hear of a crow funeral?

There’s an unusual but known behavior among crows, that they gather around the bodies of their dead. A crow dead on the street or in a field will be surrounded by a few to a dozen or more crows, all seeming to contemplate their fallen comrade. The notion of crow funerals has been documented but not necessarily understood, so University of Washington biologists Kaeli Swift and John Marzluff decided to create experiments to find out what exactly is happening. …

The conclusion? The sight of a dead crow leaves a lasting impression on living crows.

Swift and Marzluff suggest that the reason crows pay such close attention is because it’s a learning opportunity for survival, a chance to know which individual humans, animals or situation are dangerous. Gathering together may be a way to share this information with the group, protecting the remaining members of the flock.

Here’s another favorite corvid of ours, the black-billed magpie:

We learned to love them on trips out west. Unfortunately, they don’t live in our neck of the woods, but we’re ever hopeful that some morning we’ll wake to find one in our yard. Other southwestern birds (and animals like armadillos) have made it here, so why not magpies? We have put out the welcome mat for Heckle and Jeckle.

Magpies also hold “funerals” for their dead:

Magpies feel grief and even hold funeral-type gatherings for their fallen friends and lay grass “wreaths” beside their bodies, an animal behaviour expert has claimed. …

Dr Bekoff, of the University of Colorado, said these rituals prove that magpies, usually seen as an aggressive predator, also have a compassionate side. …

Dr Bekoff said he studied four magpies alongside a magpie corpse and recorded their behaviour.

“One approached the corpse, gently pecked at it, just as an elephant would nose the carcase of another elephant, and stepped back. Another magpie did the same thing, ” he said. …

“Next, one of the magpies flew off, brought back some grass and laid it by the corpse. Another magpie did the same. Then all four stood vigil for a few seconds and one by one flew off.”

After publishing an account of the funeral he received emails from people who had seen the same ritual in magpies, ravens and crows.

“We can’t know what they were actually thinking or feeling, but reading their action there’s no reason not to believe these birds were saying a magpie farewell to their friend,” he wrote in the journal Emotion, Space and Society.

Those who see emotions in animals have been accused of anthropomorphism – the attribution of human characteristics to animals.

However, Dr Bekoff said emotions evolved in humans and animals because they improve the chances of survival.

“It’s bad biology to argue against the existence of animal emotions,” he said.

Well said. I agree 100%.

Watching and researching corvids took our minds off Covid for at least a little while this spring and summer. For that we are ever grateful to our clever oscine, passerine friends. (oscine=songbird; passerine=perching bird)

Happy weekend to all of our non-avian friends. As usual, an open thread.


144 responses to “Corvid-19


    “Syracuse University may soon punish students who fail to intervene in what the university dubs “bias-motivated” incidents, a recent dispatch from the school’s “chief diversity and inclusion officer” suggests.

    The university’s student code of conduct “has been revised, based on [student] input, to state that violations of the code that are bias-motivated—including conduct motivated by racism—will be punished more severely,” writes Keith Alford on the school’s website.

    The New York-based school “also revised the code to make clear when bystanders and accomplices can be held accountable,” Alford continues, implying that the university may soon begin punishing students who don’t sufficiently confront such incidents when witnessed. …”

  2. Anyone care to make a stab at the symbolism in the logo for the “siege?”

    Will Bowser relax her 14-day quarantine rules for incoming siege-wagers?


    “Elementary school children returning to a wealthy Pennsylvania classroom in the fall will learn that sympathizing with police officers is racist.

    Gladwyne Elementary School—located in Lower Merion School District, one of the richest in the nation—will require fourth and fifth graders to read Not My Idea: A Book About Whiteness, which claims that white people who relate to police officers or decline to watch the news are complicit in racism. The curriculum also assigns A Kid’s Book About Racism to kindergarten and first graders.

    The books are raising eyebrows among some parents, who take issue with their political focus. Elana Yaron Fishbein, a mother of two boys and a doctor of social work, penned a letter to the district’s superintendent, board members, and the school’s principal demanding the school remove its new “cultural proficiency” curriculum.

    “The book teaches kids not only to defy parents but to hate themselves,” Fishbein told the Washington Free Beacon. “To hate their parents also because they are white. By default, [the kids] are white, and they’re privileged, and they’re bad. [The school] is teaching this to little kids.” …

    Fishbein told the Free Beacon that parents privately message her echoing their disapproval of the cultural proficiency curriculum, but are scared to speak out for fear of being branded racist.

    If you say anything that’s racist according to the school or parent’s definition of racism, you’re out,” Fishbein said. “You’re called a racist. No wonder the parents don’t talk.”

    Lower Merion refused to respond to her emails. That silence was more than enough for Fishbein. Her children will attend a private school in the fall.

    Hooray for Ms. Fishbein! Anyone who allows their child to be so-indoctrinated should have their kids taken away because they’re UNFIT parents. I wonder if you get a pass on being a “racist” if you watch FOX News. Oh, surely they mean CNN and NBC/MSNBC. So I’m assuming this is a PUBLIC school? Outrageous.


    “Virginia kindergarten students will learn about institutional racism alongside the alphabet, according to new curriculum recommendations created for the upcoming school year.

    Loudoun County is adding “social justice” to the mission of teaching elementary school students reading, writing, and arithmetic. The Washington, D.C., suburb—the richest county in the country—has teamed up with the Southern Poverty Law Center’s (SPLC) education arm Teaching Tolerance to develop its new curriculum. …”


    • “”What they’re really trying to do is divide people as early as they can, starting now with kindergarteners. They’re really going to be inciting hate,” the teacher said. “They’re pointing out that there’s ‘whiteness’ and ‘blackness’ and that’s crazy. We never taught about that in school…. We learn about how to get along with one another and be kind and respect others. But now, with this new curriculum that they’re adding, it’s going to do the total opposite.” …”


  5. Read this outrageous, racist, biased book. Note, especially, the ANTI-CATHOLIC implication in the photo of the “neighborhood” that may not welcome non-whites. Check out the part about how you must face the painful truth about your own (racist, because white) family. Check out the American flag on the porch, as if it’s a symbol that racist white people live there. Your white family “thinks they are the good ones.” Unbelievable! They’re teaching white kids that their family, their parents, are NOT “the good ones.” They’re teaching them to defy their parents when their parents try to shelter them from the RACIST ideas promoted by BLM! And that THEY’RE complicit in all the bad things white people did because THEY’RE white, too, as are their parents! They’re teaching them to yell at and argue with their parents over how white people are racist and the cops are WRONG. At the end, the white kid jumps out of the car to go play with black kids. If this were reality, then the white kid would be shunned by the kids in the playground because she’s white. Check out 7:34. You cannot make this stuff up. They’re calling whiteness a sign of being a DEVIL (we see your pointy tail) and equating it with “stolen land, stolen riches, special favors.” WHAT A BUNCH OF HATEFUL, RACIST CLAPTRAP. This is worse than anyone can imagine and it’s being used to indoctrinate children in public schools! “RICHES?” Who the hell’s riches did “white people” steal?

    Try this link, if you can’t see the other.

  6. Chuck Callesto
    BREAKING REPORT: Texas Secretary of State’s Office Discovers Nearly 95,000 People Identified by DPS as NON-US CITIZENS that are Registered to Vote in Texas…
    10:29 AM · Aug 14, 2020·Twitter We

    • I would say it’s unbelievable but it’s totally believable. Is Texas going to mail out ballots to EVERY registered voter? How will then ensure that these people who are illegal don’t vote? If the DemoncRATS, as expected, go to court for rulings that EVERY ballot must be counted, with or without notarization or signatures, then how will election officials sort out all the illegal votes? Answer: They won’t because DemoncRATS will also get rulings that they can’t vet the voters, just as they get rulings that they can’t ask people citizenship questions on the census. They make sure there’s no way to ensure that non-citizens don’t vote. They WILL vote and watch for an added number of non-citizen South Asians (from Pakistan, India, etc., most living on the west coast and working in tech jobs) who vote for “Kamala”. How without notarization and without a person in the booth, signing in front of an election official, will amateur election officials be able to determine the authenticity of signatures on ballots? Answer: They won’t be able to and fear of lawsuits on the off chance they erroneously disqualify even one vote will make them just allow every vote through. Even court-certified handwriting analysts can’t be 100% accurate and so their solution will be to err on the side of not “suppressing” votes. Every ballot with a signature, even if not notarized, will get counted. There will be hundreds of thousands of illegal votes getting counted. They WILL probably count ballots even without signatures. They’ll go to court to eke out every vote they can.

    • Now the TX SoS needs to tell us how many have voted in the recent past.

    • Of course they do. Check out this article, which they’re trying to deep six. It’s by a respected CONSTITUTIONAL SCHOLAR and lawyer. Do note that Newsweek, after claiming they won’t apologize for running it, finally did apologize and insert a disclaimer as a result of pressure from the MOB (aka the new Nazis):

      They can’t ARGUE the facts, so they bully and silence and shame. She WON’T answer his questions, because to do so truthfully would prove his point. I don’t agree with his analysis about “subject to the jurisdiction” because if you read the entire clause of the 14th amendment, it includes naturalized citizens.

      “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. …”

      Born OR naturalized AND subject to the jurisdiction. According to his argument that if her parents were legal residents at the time of her birth, then she’d be a natural born citizen, you can read the clause the SAME WAY for naturalized citizens. Nobody argues that a naturalized citizen is a natural born citizen, and so when the clause talks about CITIZENS of the U.S., it’s not talking about NATURAL BORN CITIZENS of the U.S.

      You can be born here, subject to the jurisdiction of the U.S., and still NOT BE a natural born citizen because to be natural born means that there’s no need for any legal determination; you’re a citizen because you were born here TO TWO U.S. CITIZEN PARENTS. NOT to legal residents. People become legal residents through acts of Congress or the executive branch when visas are issued, etc. The Constitution says nothing about legal residents. Anchor babies are citizens, if they are citizens, only because the government has treated them AS citizens and the government can take away that status whenever they wish to. Thus, anchor babies are NOT natural born citizens, no matter what the status of their parents with regard to residency.

      Children of ambassadors are born to legal residents. Ambassadors are here legally, right? Her parents were subjects of foreign nations. At her birth, she was subject to the jurisdiction of FOREIGN NATIONS. The SCOTUS would have to rule on this issue but they’re avoiding it and so is anybody who might take it to the SCOTUS. Of course, nobody will do that lest they be called racist.

  7. Another ….step 4 man – kind … Yep. .the
    Obama …shuffle…..bring it All …..on !!!

    • TCTH says this came from an approach by his lawyers and NOT from any grand jury, so is there a grand jury? Who knows? It’s a process crime he’s admitting to, not FABRICATION of evidence, which gets (some say) 20 years in prison, and then add on the fact that the fabrication was in furtherance of an illegal COUP against a sitting, duly elected POTUS. So why are they giving him a relatively tiny penalty? Is he singing like a canary? Supposedly TCTH had a hand in pushing this issue to be revealed yesterday, with more promised Tuesday (was supposed to be yesterday) OR ELSE they’re going to drop a dime on somebody. I don’t know what this is about but ANYTHING that reveals this awful corruption is a step in the right direction. Time is running out. Our Republic is at stake.

  8. Powerful stuff …look up his many articles!!!
    Brian Johnston ….lots to calm your nerves &
    Fears ….. Zinc… Zinc …. & Lies on c- 19 !!!
    Please pass this on .. Stay alive folks we need u

  9. please!! 😀

  10. Powerful stuff …… Above …. it goes on 4days
    Good thing we’re ….locked up @…..home
    Read…on & on & …..on!

  11. God bless American. …. As we come together …
    Wonderful ❣️😊 .. Things trump has done for
    Wtp … Our president …rocks … & They hate it???

    • And yet Moo’s going to go out campaigning for Joe. Like Tammy Bruce, I have no expectation that Joe will even remain on the ticket. I’m looking for something to upset the apple cart before the debates, for sure. They will want HER to face Trump, not Biden. Or they’ll want all four candidates (VP and POTUS) to “debate”. She will be the POTUS. I said it long ago, that whoever is the VP will be the POTUS if Biden “wins.” Obama’s probably hedging his bets. My new prediction is that the LIES they’re telling about Trump deliberately “defunding” the Postal Service is the new “insurance policy” in case he wins. They will use THIS for the next impeachment. Election interference. Politicizing the Post Office. Corruption to disenfranchise voters. Count on it. It’s the new plan. It will never end. They will NEVER acknowledge his presidency or stop the resistance until they have total control and our country is destroyed.

  12. New York Post
    NYPD union endorses Trump: ‘We need your strong voice across the country’

    • So stupid. All the left can do is seek to silence people because they cannot refute their facts and their logical arguments.

  13. Ryan Fournier
    When the NYPD Union endorses President Trump,

    You know the Democrats have a problem.


    “City officials ignored their own application process for public art projects to paint Black Lives Matter murals around the five boroughs, in order to mark an important moment in history, Mayor Bill de Blasio said as his administration faces claims of First Amendment violations for refusing to green-light other proposals.

    “We haven’t said ‘no’ to people, we’ve said, ‘If you want to apply, you can apply, but there’s a process,’” de Blasio said during his City Hall press briefing Monday. …”

    Really no surprise. Laws, rules, policies, constitutional rights and privileges, “processes”–it’s all subject to the whims of DemoncRATS. They “rule” based upon what they believe the law SHOULD BE and SHOULD ALLOW (for some), not what it does say or does mean or allow (for ALL). Special treatment SHOULD BE THE RULE for BLM, and so voila! It is in NYC. Everybody else has to follow the “process.” And he’s a liar. They did say NO to others.

    Judicial Watch asked for a permit to paint their slogan on streets. DENIED. But BLM doesn’t even NEED a permit. So Judicial Watch filed a FOIA request for all the paperwork and communications about the BLM “mural,” and magically they’re admitting that they ignored the process for special people, aka, those of the correct, favored skin color and political point of view. I wonder if that means that they’re going to stiff Judicial Watch on the documents. I hope not. I hope JW keeps after them to get the PAPERWORK so everybody can see what goes on between elected leaders who are supposed to represent everybody and favored, radical activists. All of this is nothing more than in-kind donations to Biden and violations of the campaign laws AND politicization of city government. It’s corruption at its finest.


    Weinstein, Cosby, Epstein, Clinton. They should all just claim it was a “prank.”

    Perverts all.

    “Judge Dawn Gentry allegedly hired boyfriend Stephen Penrose — a former pastor and her band’s guitar player — to have a threesome with her secretary, Laura Aubrey.

    The Kenton County Family Court judge was hit with a dozen charges by the state’s Judicial Conduct Commission related to the Animal House antics in which she allegedly allowed staffers to get drunk on the job — all while abusing her power to win re-election.

    The charges accuse Gentry, who has been suspended with pay, of using sex, coercion and retaliation as tools in her judgeship.

    Gentry — who served on a panel to help abused children — also allegedly tried to seduce another member of the panel, attorney Katherine Schulz, into having a second threesome. …”

  16. Whoops. Here’s some “evidence” that the POTUS can cite so the mainstream media stop saying he makes accusations of vote fraud “without evidence.”

    “PATERSON — Facing allegations of vote fraud, Councilman-elect Alex Mendez has decided to accept a judge’s proposal that would negate his victory in the May election and set up a new contest for Paterson’s 3rd Ward City Council seat. …

    But six days before Mendez was scheduled to take office as a councilman on July 1, the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office announced he was being charged with election fraud crimes, accusations that are pending. A judge subsequently ruled that the 3rd Ward council seat should stay vacant until the resolution of McKoy’s civil lawsuit claiming there was widespread wrongdoing in the election. …”

    Yep. MAIL-IN VOTING fraud:

    “Mendez had complained that in May election officials disqualified a disproportionate number of mail-in ballots submitted by voters with Hispanic surnames. He attributed what he called excessive ballot disqualifications to improper intrusion by people connected to Sayegh. …

    McKoy’s lawyer also expressed confidence that his client would prevail if the fraud case went to trial. One of his allegations in the lawsuit was that numerous McKoy supporters never got a chance to vote because of irregularities in the handling of the mail-in ballots.

    “We could call 500 witnesses who would say they never got their ballots, but that would be a waste of time,” Salmon said. …”

    Are they deferring a trial so there can be no “evidence” to cite? Oh, wait. There are criminal charges and POTUS already is citing it, much to their dismay. Despite that, my newspaper just today continued to say he says mail-in voting is subject to fraud “without evidence.” TRUTH does not matter; only their LIES matter to them and they will persist in spreading their lies, even after they’ve been proved untrue.

  17. ….. We love all the workers in …. Blue
    Red…..white …& Blue
    Wtp stand with you all …. 24 / 7

    • Did you see how the media are saying she’s following in Ferraro’s footsteps? Totally skipping right over Sarah Palin, who was very classy in her congratulations to Harris.

    • About them picking her even though she was rejected by the Party, that’s WHY they picked her. THEY, the powers in the DemoncRAT PARTY, wanted her, despite what the “low information” voters and deplorables in their own party wanted. I read an article today where the mainstream reporter actually did call people who don’t get with the program in the DemoncRAT party “low information.” They despise even their own voters. Well, that’s really no surprise. They hate everybody but their own elite selves. Kamala is one of them, like Barry was one of them. ELITE global citizens. As un-American as they dare to get. Tell me, WHY do they diss what one might call REAL American Blacks? What was wrong with Bass and the Atlanta mayor, whose name escapes me? They ARE “black” as most Americans think of blacks. Descended from people who’ve lived here in our culture for generations. WHY is it that they pick these “articulate” (saw them use that word to describe Harris, too) semi-black, INTERNATIONAL, children of recent immigrants? Is she even black? Well, not much. Depends upon her dad’s ancestry. Is Obama? Depends upon who his dad actually was. He and Kamala love each other; is that because BOTH are “desis’, as Barry once suggested that he is? Meaning, ASIAN? They wanted Kamala but their voters didn’t and so they’re going to do an END RUN around their voters. Joe WILL drop out at some point and if elected, SHE will be POTUS, just as the powers wanted. He’s only a place holder. She will be Obama’s third and fourth terms.

  18. No thanks Joe!

    • I hope the Democrats and others who even think of voting for Biden realize that a vote for that ticket is a vote to put Kamala in the Oval Office. EVEN JOE says so. More on that later.

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