[Tweeters] Sheep rodeo and crows on Lopez

Rob Sandelin nwnature at verizon.net
Sat Aug 21 18:30:53 PDT 2010

While on Lopez Island I had to stop to watch a flock of sheep of which 6 had
birds on their backs. The birds turned out to be Starlings and as I pulled
over, the bird nearest the fence to the car began pecking at the sheep
underneath it which then ran and sort of jumped around, no doubt annoyed by
the bird. The cowboy starling used its wings to keep its perch and finally
its steed settled down again. I had a strong temptation to get out of the
car and try to get more of the flock engaged by their riders but resisted.
The next day while waiting for the ferry a mink scampered over the
intertidal rocks. It was followed by a group of 5 crows who flew just
behind it, perched, then followed. I wondered how long the crows would
follow the animal, if it was just crows being bored or perhaps there was a
food reward for the behavior. Also got quite close to a white fuzzy headed
juv. Turkey vulture who was poking at a well picked over bit of seal fur. I
was surprised how close it let us get. The only other bird of interest was
a peregrine which flew along the fence line on Center road ahead of the car,
then perched and let us admire it.

Rob Sandelin
Naturalist, Writer, Teacher
Snohomish County

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