365 Nature – Day 148

In 2016 I’m doing a 365 Nature project. Each day of the year I will post something here about nature. It may be any format, a photo, video, audio, sketch or entry from my nature journal. It could be a written piece. Each day I will connect to nature in some way and share it here by the end of that day. You can keep up-to-date by subscribing to the RSS feed or be notified by email. See all the 365 Nature posts.


Over the last few weeks I’ve been watching the antics of our local crows. Next door, our neighbors have a chicken coop and the crows have discovered how to pillage the eggs. They have become, as my four year old daughter calls them ‘egg thieves’. I first saw a crow with a broken egg in our backyard maybe three weeks ago and at first I worried that it had somehow found a way into the Bewick’s Wren’s nest box. But when the crow left and I examined the egg, I could see it was clearly a chicken egg. Somewhere between a week and two ago, while our new backdoor was being installed, I looked out one afternoon and saw an egg had been splattered all over our picnic table. Presumably a crow had tried to steal another, but dropped it as it flew away. I started watching the backyard crows and sure enough, I’d see them fly low over our yard, land on the fence and then fly right into the chicken coop. They have now been a constant presence in our backyard.

Not only do they steal eggs, but they steal the chicken’s food that is left out for the chickens. I have seen them doing this for a long time, but recently when I go fill up our bird baths, I have been noticing stuff in the bottom of one of them. Sometimes it looks like soggy bread, one time it was something that had turned the water red. Other times its just crumbs, something left behind after they’ve taken the larger chunk of whatever it was, away. I think they soak it in the water to soften the food so they can rip it apart and eat it easier. With our new glass doors, I can easily watch them land on the small, glass birdbath and clean their beaks or take a drink.

It’s interesting because the crows are essentially competing with the rats for food. The rat population has exploded this spring and they’re out around the chicken’s food and in the coop constantly. If it comes down to the rats and crows, there’s no question who I’m rooting for.

Kelly Brenner
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Kelly Brenner

Kelly Brenner is a naturalist, writer and photographer based in Seattle. She founded The Metropolitan Field Guide in 2009 and has contributed articles to aincluding Crosscut, ParentMap and National Wildlife Magazine. She holds a bachelors degree in landscape architecture from the University of Oregon and a certificate in non-fiction writing from the University of Washington.

She is currently writing a book about urban nature to be published by Mountaineers Books in 2019.
Kelly Brenner
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