As promised, in Waterman Bird Collection – Part II, here are the last two birds from that display. The Leach’s Storm Petrel and the Crow will now be introduced. Many of you already have heard of a Crow, but how about a Storm Petrel? Let’s see what we can find out about these avian creations from the Creator.
BJU Bird Collection 2018 Bottom Shelf
The two birds today are the two right hand birds in the Display.
The Leach’s Storm Petrel [at the top] is starting to show a tiny bit of deterioration, but considering it’s over 100 years old, it’s not too much.
“The Leach’s Storm Petrel or Leach’s Petrel (Oceanodroma leucorhoa) is a small seabird of the tubenose order. It is named after the British zoologist William Elford Leach. The scientific name is derived from Ancient Greek. Oceanodroma is from okeanos, “ocean” and dromos, “runner”, and leucorhoa is from leukos, “white” and orrhos, “rump”.
“It breeds on inaccessible islands in the colder northern areas of the Atlantic and Pacific. It nests in colonies close to the sea in well concealed areas such as rock crevices, shallow burrows or even logs. It lays a single white egg which often has a faint ring of spots at the large end. This storm petrel is strictly nocturnal at the breeding sites to avoid predation by gulls and skuas, and will even avoid coming to land on clear moonlit nights. The largest colony of Leach’s storm petrels can be found on Baccalieu Island of eastern Canada, an ecological reserve with more than 3 million pairs of the bird.” [Wikipedia with editing]
Fun Fact: “Flies swiftly, erratically, buoyantly with 1 or 2 fast, powerful flaps followed by glides on wings held well above the horizontal and noticeably kinked; sudden changes of direction impart a bounding quality. Flutters less than other storm-petrels.” [Neotropical Birds]
American Crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos) BJU Bird Collection 2018
The last bird in the part of the collection is a Crow. It wasn’t shown which one exactly, so we are using the American Crow.
“The American crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos) is a large passerine bird species of the family Corvidae. It is a common bird found throughout much of North America. American crows are the new world counterpart to the carrion crow and the hooded crow. Although the American crow and the hooded crow are very similar in size, structure and behavior, their calls are different. The American crow nevertheless occupies the same role the hooded crow does in Eurasia.”
Florida Fish Crow (Corvus ossifragus) at Lake Morton By Dan’sPix
“From beak to tail, an American crow measures 40–50 cm (16–20 in), almost half of which is tail. Mass varies from about 300 to 600 g (11 to 21 oz). Males tend to be larger than females. The most usual call is CaaW!-CaaW!-CaaW!.’
American Crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos) by Ray
“The American crow is all black, with iridescent feathers. It looks much like other all-black corvids. They can be distinguished from the common raven (C. corax) because American crows are smaller and from the fish crow (C. ossifragus) because American crows do not hunch and fluff their throat feathers when they call, and from the carrion crow (C. corone) by the enunciation of their calls.” [American Crow – Wikipedia]
Crows sometimes make and use tools. Examples include a captive crow using a cup to carry water over to a bowl of dry mash; shaping a piece of wood and then sticking it into a hole in a fence post in search of food; and breaking off pieces of pine cone to drop on tree climbers near a nest.
Blue Jay (Cyanocitta cristata) at Bok Tower By Dan’sPix
The Crow and the Blue Jay.
The Burgess Bird Book For Children
Listen to the story read.
CHAPTER 17. More Robbers.
By the sounds of rejoicing among the feathered folks of the Old Orchard Johnny Chuck knew that it was quite safe for him to come out. He was eager to tell Skimmer the Tree Swallow how glad he was that Mr. Blacksnake had been driven away before he could get Skimmer’s eggs. As he poked his head out of his doorway he became aware that something was still wrong in the Old Orchard. Into the glad chorus there broke a note of distress and sorrow. Johnny instantly recognized the voices of Welcome Robin and Mrs. Robin. There is not one among his feathered neighbors who can so express worry and sorrow as can the Robins.
Johnny was just in time to see all the birds hurrying over to that part of the Old Orchard where the Robins had built their home. The rejoicing suddenly gave way to cries of indignation and anger, and Johnny caught the words, “Robber! Thief! Wretch!” It appeared that there was just as much excitement over there as there had been when Mr. Blacksnake had been discovered trying to rob Skimmer and Mrs. Skimmer. It couldn’t be Mr. Blacksnake again, because Farmer Brown’s boy had chased him in quite another direction.
“What is it now?” asked Johnny of Skimmer, who was still excitedly discussing with Mrs. Skimmer their recent fright.
“I don’t know, but I’m going to find out,” replied Skimmer and darted away.
Johnny Chuck waited patiently. The excitement among the birds seemed to increase, and the chattering and angry cries grew louder. Only the voices of Welcome and Mrs. Robin were not angry. They were mournful, as if Welcome and Mrs. Robin were heartbroken. Presently Skimmer came back to tell Mrs. Skimmer the news.
“The Robins have lost their eggs!” he cried excitedly. “All four have been broken and eaten. Mrs. Robin left them to come over here to help drive away Mr. Blacksnake, and while she was here some one ate those eggs. Nobody knows who it could have been, because all the birds of the Old Orchard were over here at that time. It might leave been Chatterer the Red Squirrel, or it might have been Sammy Jay, or it might have been Creaker the Grackle, or it might have been Blacky the Crow. Whoever it was just took that chance to sneak over there and rob that nest when there was no one to see him.”
Crow at Flamingo Gardens by Lee
Just then from over towards the Green Forest sounded a mocking “Caw, caw, caw!” Instantly the noise in the Old Orchard ceased for a moment. Then it broke out afresh. There wasn’t a doubt now in any one’s mind. Blacky the Crow was the robber. How those tongues did go! There was nothing too bad to say about Blacky. And such dreadful things as those birds promised to do to Blacky the Crow if ever they should catch him in the Old Orchard.
“Caw, caw, caw!” shouted Blacky from the distance, and his voice sounded very much as if he thought he had done something very smart. It was quite clear that at least he was not sorry for what he had done.
All the birds were so excited and so angry, as they gathered around Welcome and Mrs. Robin trying to comfort them, that it was some time before their indignation meeting broke up and they returned to their own homes and duties. Almost at once there was another cry of distress. Mr. and Mrs. Chebec had been robbed of their eggs! While they had been attending the indignation meeting at the home of the Robins, a thief had taken the chance to steal their eggs and get away.
Of course right away all the birds hurried over to sympathize with the Chebecs and to repeat against the unknown thief all the threats they had made against Blacky the Crow. They knew it couldn’t have been Blacky this time because they had heard Blacky cawing over on the edge of the Green Forest. In the midst of the excited discussion as to who the thief was, Weaver the Orchard Oriole spied a blue and white feather on the ground just below Chebec’s nest.
“It was Sammy Jay! There is no doubt about it, it was Sammy Jay!” he cried.
At the sight of that telltale feather all the birds knew that Weaver was right, and led by Scrapper the Kingbird they began a noisy search of the Old Orchard for the sly robber. But Sammy wasn’t to be found, and they soon gave up the search, none daring to stay longer away from his own home lest something should happen there. Welcome and Mrs. Robin continued to cry mournfully, but little Mr. and Mrs. Chebec bore their trouble almost silently.
“There is one thing about it,” said Mr. Chebec to his sorrowful little wife, “that egg of Sally Sly’s went with the rest, and we won’t have to raise that bothersome orphan.”
“That’s true,” said she. “There is no use crying over what can’t be helped. It is a waste of time to sit around crying. Come on, Chebec, let’s look for a place to build another nest. Next time I won’t leave the eggs unwatched for a minute.”
Meanwhile Jenny Wren’s tongue was fairly flying as she chattered to Peter Rabbit, who had come up in the midst of the excitement and of course had to know all about it.
Fish Crow (Corvus ossifragus) at Lake Morton By Dan’sPix
“Blacky the Crow has a heart as black as his coat, and his cousin Sammy Jay isn’t much better,” declared Jenny. “They belong to a family of robbers.”
“Wait a minute,” cried Peter. “Do you mean to say that Blacky the Crow and Sammy Jay are cousins?”
“For goodness’ sake, Peter!” exclaimed Jenny, “do you mean to say that you don’t know that? Of course they’re cousins. They don’t look much alike, but they belong to the same family. I would expect almost anything bad of any one as black as Blacky the Crow. But how such a handsome fellow as Sammy Jay can do such dreadful things I don’t understand. He isn’t as bad as Blacky, because he does do a lot of good. He destroys a lot of caterpillars and other pests.
“There are no sharper eyes anywhere than those of Sammy Jay, and I’ll have to say this for him, that whenever he discovers any danger he always gives us warning. He has saved the lives of a good many of us feathered folks in this way. If it wasn’t for this habit of stealing our eggs I wouldn’t have a word to say against him, but at that, he isn’t as bad as Blacky the Crow. They say Blacky does some good by destroying white grubs and some other harmful pests, but he’s a regular cannibal, for he is just as fond of young birds as he is of eggs, and the harm he does in this way is more than the good he does in other ways. He’s bold, black, and bad, if you ask me.”
Remembering her household duties, Jenny Wren disappeared inside her house in her usual abrupt fashion. Peter hung around for a while but finding no one who would take the time to talk to him he suddenly decided to go over to the Green Forest to look for some of his friends there. He had gone but a little way in the Green Forest when he caught a glimpse of a blue form stealing away through the trees. He knew it in an instant, for there is no one with such a coat but Sammy Jay. Peter glanced up in the tree from which Sammy had flown and there he saw a nest in a crotch halfway up. “I wonder,” thought Peter, “if Sammy was stealing eggs there, or if that is his own nest.” Then he started after Sammy as fast as he could go, lipperty-lipperty-lip. As he ran he happened to look back and was just in time to see Mrs. Jay slip on to the nest. Then Peter knew that he had discovered Sammy’s home. He chuckled as he ran.
Blue Jay (Cyanocitta cristata) by Daves BirdingPix
“I’ve found out your secret, Sammy Jay!” cried Peter when at last he caught up with Sammy.
“Then I hope you’ll be gentleman enough to keep it,” grumbled Sammy, looking not at all pleased.
“Certainly,” replied Peter with dignity. “I wouldn’t think of telling any one. My, what a handsome fellow you are, Sammy.”
Sammy looked pleased. He is a little bit vain, is Sammy Jay. There is no denying that he is handsome. He is just a bit bigger than Welcome Robin. His back is grayish-blue. His tail is a bright blue crossed with little black bars and edged with white. His wings are blue with white and black bars. His throat and breast are a soft grayish-white, and he wears a collar of black. On his head he wears a pointed cap, a very convenient cap, for at times he draws it down so that it is not pointed at all.
“Why did you steal Mrs. Chebec’s eggs?” demanded Peter abruptly.
Sammy didn’t look the least bit put out. “Because I like eggs,” he replied promptly. “If people will leave their eggs unguarded they must expect to lose them. How did you know I took those eggs?”
“Never mind, Sammy; never mind. A little bird told me,” retorted Peter mischievously.
Sammy opened his mouth for a sharp reply, but instead he uttered a cry of warning. “Run, Peter! Run! Here comes Reddy Fox!” he cried.
Peter dived headlong under a great pile of brush. There he was quite safe. While he waited for Reddy Fox to go away he thought about Sammy Jay. “It’s funny,” he mused, “how so much good and so much bad can be mixed together. Sammy Jay stole Chebec’s eggs, and then he saved my life. I just know he would have done as much for Mr. and Mrs. Chebec, or for any other feathered neighbor. He can only steal eggs for a little while in the spring. I guess on the whole he does more good than harm. I’m going to think so anyway.”
Peter was quite right. Sammy Jay does do more good than harm.
When they found the feather, a verse comes to mind:
… and be sure your sin will find you out. (Numbers 32:23b NKJV)
Why were Welcome Robin and Mrs. Robin upset?
Which bird was the one who destroyed the eggs?
What did their friends try to do to help the Robins?
Should we do that for our friends also?
Who was the next robber?
How did they know it was him?
Both the Crow and the Blue Jay are cousins. Why?
Why did Peter decide that Sammy Blue Jay was okay?
Can we sin just a little and then do lots of good? Does that make it right?
Therefore comfort each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing. (1 Thessalonians 5:11 NKJV)
Birds Illustrated by Color Photography – Revisited
Vol 1. March, 1897 No. 3
Caw! Caw! Caw! little boys and girls. Caw! Caw! Caw! Just look at my coat of feathers. See how black and glossy it is. Do you wonder I am proud of it?
Perhaps you think I look very solemn and wise, and not at all as if I cared to play games. I do, though; and one of the games I like best is hide-and-seek. I play it with the farmer in the spring. He hides, in the rich, brown earth, golden kernels of corn. Surely he does it because he knows I like it, for sometimes he puts up a stick all dressed like a man to show where the corn is hidden. Sometimes I push my bill down into the earth to find the corn, and at other times I wait until tiny green leaves begin to show above the ground, and then I get my breakfast without much trouble. I wonder if the farmer enjoys this game as much as I do. I help him, too, by eating worms and insects.
During the spring and summer I live in my nest on the top of a very high tree. It is built of sticks and grasses and straw and string and anything else I can pick up. But in the fall, I and all my relations and friends live together in great roosts or rookeries. What good times we do have—hunting all day for food and talking all night. Wouldn’t you like to be with us?
The farmer who lives in the house over there went to the mill to-day with a load of corn.
One of the ears dropped out of the wagon and it didn’t take me long to find it. I have eaten all I can possibly hold and am wondering now what is the best thing to do. If you were in my place would you leave it here and not tell anybody and come back to-morrow and finish it? Or would you fly off and get Mrs. Crow and some of the children to come and finish it? I believe I’ll fly and get them. Good-bye.
Caw! Caw! Caw!
Fish Crow (Corvus ossifragus) at Lake Morton By Dan’sPix
THE COMMON CROW.
“The crow doth sing as merry as the lark,
When neither is attended.”
EW birds have more interesting characteristics than the Common Crow, being, in many of his actions, very like the Raven, especially in his love for carrion. Like the Raven, he has been known to attack game, although his inferior size forces him to call to his assistance the aid of his fellows to cope with larger creatures. Rabbits and hares are frequently the prey of this bird which pounces on them as they steal abroad to feed. His food consists of reptiles, frogs, and lizards; he is a plunderer of other birds’ nests. On the seashore he finds crabs, shrimps and inhabited shells, which he ingeniously cracks by flying with them to a great height and letting them fall upon a convenient rock.
The crow is seen in single pairs or in little bands of four or five. In the autumn evenings, however, they assemble in considerable flocks before going to roost and make a wonderful chattering, as if comparing notes of the events of the day.
The nest of the Crow is placed in some tree remote from habitations of other birds. Although large and very conspicuous at a distance, it is fixed upon one of the topmost branches quite out of reach of the hand of the adventurous urchin who longs to secure its contents. It is loosely made and saucer shaped. Sticks and softer substances are used to construct it, and it is lined with hair and fibrous roots. Very recently a thrifty and intelligent Crow built for itself a summer residence in an airy tree near Bombay, the material used being gold, silver, and steel spectacle frames, which the bird had stolen from an optician of that city. Eighty-four frames had been used for this purpose, and they were so ingeniously woven together that the nest was quite a work of art. The eggs are variable, or rather individual, in their markings, and even in their size. The Crow rarely uses the same nest twice, although he frequently repairs to the same locality from year to year. He is remarkable for his attachment to his mate and young, surpassing the Fawn and Turtle Dove in conjugal courtesy.
And he lives to a good old age. Instances are not rare where he has attained to half a century, without great loss of activity or failure of sight.
At Red Bank, a few miles northeast of Cincinnati, on the Little Miami River, in the bottoms, large flocks of Crows congregate the year around. A few miles away, high upon Walnut Hills, is a Crow roost, and in the late afternoons the Crows, singly, in pairs, and in flocks, are seen on the wing, flying heavily, with full crops, on the way to the roost, from which they descend in the early morning, crying “Caw! Caw!” to the fields of the newly planted, growing, or matured corn, or corn stacks, as the season may provide.
American Crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos) by Kent Nickell
The Raven family which includes the Crows is mentioned in Scripture in the list of unclean birds in Leviticus and Deuteronomy (14:14) as “after its kind.”
every raven after its kind, (Leviticus 11:15 NKJV)
Crows form the genus Corvus in the Corvidae – Crows, Jays Family. Ranging in size from the relatively small pigeon-size jackdaws (Eurasian and Daurian) to the Common Raven of the Holarctic region and Thick-billed Raven of the highlands of Ethiopia, the 40 or so members of this genus occur on all temperate continents (except South America) and several offshore and oceanic islands (except for a few, which included Hawaii, which had the Hawaiian crow that went extinct in the wild in 2002). In the United States and Canada, the word “crow” is used to refer to the American Crow.
The crow genus makes up a third of the species in the Corvidae family. A group of crows is called a flock or, more poetically, a murder, But the term “murder of crows” mostly reflects a time when groupings of many animals had colorful and poetic names. For example, other “group” names include: an ostentation of peacocks, a parliament of owls, a knot of frogs, and a skulk of foxes.
Recent research has found some crow species capable not only of tool use but of tool construction as well. Crows are now considered to be among the world’s most intelligent animals. As a group, crows show remarkable examples of intelligence. Crows and ravens often score very highly on intelligence tests. Certain species top the avian IQ scale. Wild hooded crows in Israel have learned to use bread crumbs for bait-fishing. Crows will engage in a kind of mid-air jousting, or air-“chicken” to establish pecking order. Crows have been found to engage in feats such as sports, tool use, the ability to hide and store food across seasons, episodic-like memory,[vague] and the ability to use individual experience in predicting the behavior of environmental conspecifics.
One species, the New Caledonian Crow, has also been intensively studied recently because of its ability to manufacture and use its own tools in the day-to-day search for food. These tools include ‘knives’ cut from stiff leaves and stiff stalks of grass. Another skill involves dropping tough nuts into a trafficked street and waiting for a car to crush them open. On October 5, 2007, researchers from the University of Oxford, England presented data acquired by mounting tiny video cameras on the tails of New Caledonian Crows. It turned out that they use a larger variety of tools than previously known, plucking, smoothing, and bending twigs and grass stems to procure a variety of foodstuffs. Recent research suggests that crows have the ability to recognize one individual human from another by facial features.
The above article is an article in the monthly serial for March 1897 “designed to promote Knowledge of Bird-Live.” These include Color Photography, as they call them, today they are drawings. There are at least three Volumes that have been digitized by Project Gutenberg.