Saturday, December 22, 2007

finally out again

Finding a slip has been really tough this week. If it wasn't raining, it was gusty winds, and when it's windy, crows stay in the trees. Some days I've driven a couple hours to find one slip, or none. I was desperate enough Wednesday to toss him at a group of starlings -- too small and too quick, though.

Part of why today was good was calmer weather. I've specially trained the quarry to not be down in the afternoons, because that's when I hawk. So today I went out in the morning, and they were all down. And they were unwary of my car, which in the afternoons they recognize.

That says some interesting things about how crows think. The silver SUV that comes in the afternoon is not the same as one that comes in the morning. Since they probably see silver SUVs all day and very few of them contain crow murderers, it would a waste of energy and too stressful to be wary of all of them. But if I hawked any time of day, they would certainly figure it out.

But for the moment I was anonymous again, and P happily caught two. I tried for a third but he was pretty full and it was getting to a time they would rather be up in the trees, or flying.

It was probably a good thing we caught one of the crows we caught. It had problems.

WARNING: GRISLY DEAD ANIMAL PICTURES

It appeared to be congenitally missing a bunch of secondaries on both wings.

Note the thinness of the first few primaries.
Mandibles can overgrow for a variety of reasons: nutritional problems, liver disease, viruses. They get around it surprisingly well by turning the head sideways to eat or drink.

The liver of this crow (which I will not show) was also substandard. The color was paler than normal. The right lobe was small and the left lobe was almost as thin as paper.

No comments: