[Tweeters] Species of the week: American Crow and American Dipper

Brett Wolfe m_lincolnii at yahoo.com
Mon Jan 16 20:55:22 PST 2006


I figure most people have crow stories. I do too, but I'll relate a dipper story, sad though it is.

In 2003, I was working on an internship and we were up in the moutains near Mt. Baker, and were going to be doing some work along the Suiattle River for a couple days. On the first day, it was raining real hard and we noted a dipper that had a nest on a rock in the middle of the river. The nest hole was probably 8-10 inches above the water level, although the water is fast and some splashes would surely hit it. Still, the nest appeared made of moss naturally growing on the rock, which we found quite interesting. Well, it rained all that night and most of the nest day and when we came and checked out our dipper at the end of the day, it was acting real worried about the status of it's nest, the hole of which was only about an inch above the water, and getting some splashes hitting it. And the river had to still be rising, because it was still raining. Well, there was nothing we could do to help the bird or the situation, so we left it over night again. Next morning, the nes!
t hole
was underwater and the dipper was no where around. We figured she moved to a different locale, having learned the dangers of starting a nest too early in the season.

Brett A. Wolfe
Seattle, WA
m_lincolnii at yahoo.com


Kelly Cassidy <lostriver at completebbs.com> wrote:
[The species of the week are a little late in being posted because my phone
line has been out this weekend. I don't miss the phone, but it's amazing
how much I miss that internet connection, even my painfully slow phone line
connection.]

I considered skipping the crow for the species of the week because so many
crow stories have been posted. Everyone has a crow story. But, then I
realized: Everyone has a crow story and they'd be disappointed if they
didn't have an excuse to tell it. Anyway, who could get tired of reading
about crows, the unofficial Bird of Seattle? (The Audubon Society made some
silly choice like Great Blue Heron, but we all know that crows rule
Seattle.)

So, American Crow it is, with one restriction: First hand stories, only. No
"I heard from a friend..." or "I read..."

The second species of the week is that bird of fast water, the American
Dipper.

.My crow anecdote: Since I left Seattle, I don't see crows as often.
They're aren't many crows in Pullman and none around my house out here in
raven country among the wheat fields. So, my story is from about 9 years
ago in Seattle. I had just gotten a puppy. There were, of course, always
crows in the neighborhood, but they didn't normally hang around my yard. I
had let the new puppy out for one of its gazillion daily puppy potty breaks
when I noticed a crow quietly watching the puppy. Then another crow, then
maybe one or two more.

The puppy was far too large for a crow to attack, so why were they
interested? I think they keyed in on the sometimes-unsteady puppy walk and
were hopeful they had found a sick animal that might soon be carrion. After
a few minutes, the crows left. They ignored the puppy after that.

Dr. Kelly Cassidy
Curator, Conner Vertebrate Museum
Washington State University, Pullman, WA


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