Northwestern Crow

In an earlier post, I commented that one bird I never expected to catch with the Birdcam was a crow.  Nevertheless, they have become daily visitors to the backyard Birdcam station.  The Northwestern Crow (Corvus caurinus) is a regional denizen of shoreline habitats.  In fact, spotting a small crow near the beach is considered an identifying characteristic.  They are a bit smaller than the American Crow and have a hoarser voice.  Their range is coastal Alaska, British Columbia and Washington including Puget Sound.

I have a pair that nest somewhere nearby.  I see them foraging on the beach almost every day.  One day last winter, I noticed them perched on a driftwood snag.  There was something odd about their behavior that caught my attention.  Suddenly, with a single swoop, they launched themselves and flew up to the feeders on my front patio.  They obviously knew where they were headed.  Each bird took turns at the platform feeder while the other checked out the planters.  I was amazed how gentle and polite they were with each other.  They have become almost daily visitors to the feeders.

Some authorities assert this is not a distinct species, but instead, a subspecies of the American Crow (C. brachyrhychos).  Personally, I like the idea of a local specialist.  They are currently listed by the American Ornithologists' Union, Seattle Audubon SocietyNational Geographic, iBird and Sibley, and these sources are good enough for me.