19 April 2015

Black and blue

Yesterday morning on my walk I went to check on the cage I had noticed out in the vineyard a couple of days earlier. Callie, too, was also curious to go and have a nose around in that area.

Well, I found a crow — a raven, really — un corbeau — trapped in the cage. There was nothing I could do about it but take a couple of photos. The poor bird went a little wild flapping its wings and jumping from a perch to another and onto the ground when Callie got too close. I won't make any jokes about "Nevermore!"

But Callie didn't bark or seem too excited about the whole situation. She sniffed around for a minute or two, and then we continued on our way. When I called her, she followed me immediately. Anyway, why would anyone want to trap a raven? A pheasant, maybe. But a raven? Could he be bait?

Very close by, I saw the first wild orchid of the season. I have the impression they are late blooming this year

P.S. I just did some reading and learned that ravens and crows are considered pests, along with pigeons and magpies. They are trapped and killed. The bodies spread in fields deter other ravens and crows that might want to come and feed on crops planted by farmers. It's pretty awful.


  1. I always thought that farmers sowed extra seed to allow for the birds taking some, and used scarecrows. Not the bodies of real birds, which is gruesome. I wonder if it does deter other birds or just satisfies the farmer's annoyance.

  2. A few minutes ago I read some pretty gruesome comments and statements on a couple of forums about trapping and scaring away crows. People in France and in the Netherlands were sharing their opinions and the practices of farmers in their regions. Many said scarecrows don't really work all that well. I'm sorry now that I know about all this.

  3. Ken, that's no Raven... 'tis a corbeau.... far too small to be a raven!
    But I'm with you on it being there as a decoy.... it is a tame bird...
    a wild bird, even an intelligent crow, would be going absolutely bananas with Callie sniffing close by....
    that bird is used to people and dogs....
    and where I grew up in East Anglia it was common practice for the corpses of the crows....
    to be strung up along the barbed wire in rows....
    or in pairs on poles out in the field.
    And that, to me as someone interested in birds, WAS gruesome...
    moles were strung up along the fence that way, too!!
    The reason for the stringing up tho' wasn't to scare the other birds...
    or revolt someone like me having to cycle past...
    it was so that the person doing the extermination could be paid...
    it was cash per corpse... the farmers just couldn't be bothered to cut the bodies down!

    And scarecrows DON'T work....
    there are loads of pictures of scarecrows being used by crows as convenient perches!
    Old video tape strung tightly between canes works for smaller birds in the veg garden....
    if you can live with the continuous buzzzing from it... I can't!!

    1. And that's a lovely orchid picture...

  4. I thought ravens had black beaks. I don't know about crows, or corneilles. I guess they have black beaks too. Could it be a juvenile raven? No matter, really. Walt said there were two birds in the cage this morning, and one sitting on top of the cage, when he went out walking.

  5. We have ravens in southern Australia. Crows are found in the north. They are a pest insofar as they make a mess when they pull the contents out of rubbish bins and I seem to recall from childhood that they occasionally attack new born lambs but what harm do they do they do to grape vines? I didn't think they ate seeds.

    1. That's what I was thinking, Andrew. I read that crows or ravens will damage corn/maize crops, but nothing about grapes. I plan to walk back out to the area where the cage/trap is later today to check its status.

      Tim, do you think the first bird was a decoy to attract other birds into the cage?

    2. Most probably, yes!
      And from what you wrote about Walt seeing two birds and one on top... it is working.
      And... Ravens are about twice the size of the bird above... sometimes larger... think Callie head sized for the chest of an average bird... and the raven's black bill is massive and looks as though it has been stuck on at the front... also the tail is very obviously wedge-shaped at the tip.
      The bird above is a Crow... smaller, glossier, the bill is more refined and the head, as seen here seems to flow into the bill.
      The other, all black corvid is the Rook... same size as the crow, but less glossy, often scruffy looking... the bill is whitish at the base and again, looks as though it is stuck onto the head.... a breeding male rook has a much whiter bill and a distinct white, chin wattle hanging down.

    3. Oh... and Rook is a Corbeau... corbeau freux....
      as is the Raven... the Grand Corbeau...
      but my old dictionary lumps them under corbeau... as all black crow-like birds...
      including the crow... corneille noire....
      and the Scottish "Hoodie".... corneille mantelée... the Hooded Crow...
      I had to look all that up... I am slowly getting there with some of the French bird names...
      Fortunately... we purchased a new identification guide on animals that has French and English names and descriptions...
      and Dutch names only... that helps!
      And whenever we see the French version of one of our English guides....
      we buy that, too!

  6. I hope the trap is gone soon. The orchid is lovely.

  7. Eww. Everything about this is unpleasant.

  8. Replies
    1. It is, isn't it? More tomorrow, after this afternoon's re-inspection.

  9. If you have not seen the documentary "The Secret Life of Crows" I cannot recommend it enough:


    they can solve very complex problems, have long life spans and routinely outwit utility company workers in urban areas. When a community member dies they will flock together and hold a memorial.

    1. I will watch that video tomorrow. Thanks.

  10. I can't even read anything more, the crow trapped like that is too upsetting for me. I am too soft hearted some days.


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