Appalachia Crows

Crows On The Ridge

Crows on the ridge
From the minute I hatched the idea for The Week Of the Crow-I started trying to get photos of the crows that fly about my mountain holler and the road that leads to it. You’ve already seen a few of them-so you’ll believe me when I say-not one good picture have I gotten. It’s like it was a game-they knew the minute I turned my camera in their direction and immediately took off for distant lands only to circle back when I was facing the other way.

In the back of my mind-I knew I had access to a secret weapon for getting the clever crows to come closer. Finally last weekend I decided it was time to call my brother Steve.

Steve has a crow calling machine. Its really just a tape deck with a large speaker and tapes filled with crow sounds. When I asked to borrow the caller-Steve said “You can borrow it-but you’ll probably have to go somewhere down the road to get them to come to you, the ones around here have about figured it out.” I wasn’t interested in going down the road-I wanted to go behind the house. But I went and got the caller anyway.

As soon as I got home with it The Deer Hunter said “You know you won’t get any crows to come to you around here don’t you? Why don’t you go over to Jackie’s house. Don’t she have a lot of fields around her place?” I didn’t like his remark any better than I did Steve’s.

A few hours later I decided if I was going to try the caller it was now or never. I decided I was going up on my ridge-you know the one I dragged Chitter and Chatter up when they were just little chubby munchkins.

Before I left the house, The Deer Hunter told me I’d never get them to come if I didn’t wear camouflage. Like I have camouflage. I did wear one of his shirts-and Steve had left some sort of camo netting in the caller so I wrapped that around my head.

Steve also warned me the caller was heavy and as I pulled myself up the slick slope of pine needles I thought “he sure was right about the weight and I’m sure he was right about me not being able to call any crows too.”

The Pine Beetles have reeked havoc on the pines that grow on the ridges around our house. Each time I venture out in the woods I find another dead one has been brought down by a recent wind.

Once I reached the top of the ridge I saw the top of a pine had come down, leaving a jagged snag sticking up in the sky. I figured if any crows did come-maybe they’d land on the snag. I set the caller off to the side of the snag and settled down near the top portion of the pine that had come down.

I must admit as I sat there with the caller making all sorts of racket I felt pretty silly. Mostly I was mad at myself, for waiting till the last minute to try and get some good photos for The Week Of The Crow.

I had been sitting there stewing a good 15 minutes when I begin to hear something. About the time I heard it-I begin to see the crows-they were EVERYWHERE! It was like a whole tribe of crows had come to investigate what I was doing; they just kept speeding over the trees like clouds moving in a thunderstorm; and a few even darted down to where I was like lightning bolts coming to ground but gone before you know it.

I got so shook up and excited that I totally forgot about my camera and I didn’t even realize I had laid down on the ground-completely on my back-till I remembered it.

As I laid there on my back I felt like I was in an old fairy tale-you know something like Tipper and the Crows-where Tipper finds herself in dire straits for not being a good little girl and then in the end a friendly murder of crows help her come out the other side of her woes victorious in the end.

I still didn’t get any good photos-but I did get a good video. I only wish you could have experienced it first hand like I did. Maybe you can pretend you’re lying on a high mountain ridge with leaves and sticks poking your skin while pine needles tickle your ears. (don’t forget to stop the player in the top right of this page before you start the video)

So how did you like it? It was so very neat-I’m still excited about it! Of course I walked home feeling so proud of myself-I couldn’t wait to brag to Steve and The Deer Hunter that I got the crows to come. The Deer Hunter was waiting for me on the back deck-I didn’t have to tell him-he’d been watching the crows boil through the sky over the ridge.

I told The Deer Hunter the Crows didn’t recognize me-that’s why I was successful. He laughed at me. I’m convinced they come because they knew I wasn’t Steve or maybe they just knew I needed them.


p.s. Richard Moore left a link on yesterday’s post about crows being able to recognize human faces-go here to read it. And be sure to drop back by tomorrow for more crow!


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  • Reply
    September 30, 2011 at 9:22 am

    Very cool! You sure showed those men, didn’t you!

  • Reply
    September 29, 2011 at 6:05 pm

    Amazing! Absolutely amazing! I loved the video. I wonder what they are always yelling about and squawking about. It’s like a bunch of women jabbering. Such interesting birds and posts!

  • Reply
    September 29, 2011 at 4:56 pm

    Although it was rather noisey, I’ll bet it was still very peaceful lying there on your back watching them.

  • Reply
    Jennifer in OR
    September 29, 2011 at 1:42 pm

    That was incredible, and I can just imagine in real life the boisterous conversation! So, who talks crow and knows what they were saying?

  • Reply
    brenda s 'okie in colorado'
    September 28, 2011 at 11:25 pm

    Love this post and video. The sound reminded me of visiting my great grandparents when I was a small child. Everything was very quite where they lived except for the crows cawing.

  • Reply
    David Templeton
    September 28, 2011 at 10:24 pm

    Our crows are nice enough. I don’t know any of them personally but they seem to get along okay among themselves and they hang out a lot. I haven’t seen them bother any thing or engage in vandalism. And, they talk loudly all day around here and it adds a bucolic air to the land but they shut up at dusk and I guess they go to roost.
    If they would be still and not yell as they fly around, the blackbirds wouldn’t come out and dive at them.
    My daddy said crows can’t count so if you were of a mind to shoot some and they frequented a particular cornfield and flew away when you and a buddy entered the cover of the tall corn and if one of you walked out and one of you stayed in the cover of the tall corn, the crows would come back because they saw the human leave and didn’t count and can’t subtract one from two with any realization and thought the field was safe and you could shoot, assured that they thought all of you left.
    Well, Daddy was long-winded to tell a story and he never tried the stunt himself. I never did ask him would the other crows hang around after a cornfield skulker shot one of them. Seems like it would take a long time to complete the job.
    Besides, like me, Daddy liked crows; well, he liked old crows. No, he was partial to Old Crow.
    I don’t like them bugging chicken hawks. But, I would never harm one. They, and Red-Tailed Hawks, are my favorite birds.

  • Reply
    Uncle Al
    September 28, 2011 at 9:00 pm

    Tipper, a very nice video. I figure they heard your callin’ and thought they may have been late for the early morning briefing. 🙂

  • Reply
    Bill Dotson
    September 28, 2011 at 7:17 pm

    Love your video.

  • Reply
    September 28, 2011 at 7:16 pm

    Great Crow Show! Must have been very exciting and especially to tell the guys you got the crows to show 😉

  • Reply
    susie swanson
    September 28, 2011 at 7:03 pm

    Glad you didn’t get snake bite. That was surely a good gatherin of crows. Your persistence paid off girl..gotta give it to you..

  • Reply
    Tim Mc
    September 28, 2011 at 5:02 pm

    We use to carry a crow call with us Squirrel hunting, when we got tired of squirrels we’d whip out the crow call and a few times it was just like the sky was infested with the dark mysterious birds, we had them coming from all directions, don’t know what we were saying with the thing but what ever it was they liked it.

  • Reply
    Brenda Kay Ledford
    September 28, 2011 at 3:25 pm

    I love your story about calling the crows. I hand it to you being persistent. That sure paid off. I know you felt great after going to so much trouble. I liked this posting very much. We have a lot of crows around our woods, but if I tried to photo them, they would probably fly away.

  • Reply
    September 28, 2011 at 2:43 pm

    Tipper – your audio and video reminded me of watching crows steal wild turkey eggs one spring about 10 years ago. We saw a number of broken egg shells along the farm trail going through the hay field, but didn’t know what they were until we saw crows dive-bombing something it the hay field. They were harassing a turkey hen until they apparently drove her from the nest. Twice we saw a crow take off with a huge egg in it’s mouth (beak), it didn’t seem possible they could lift up or carry such a huge egg like that. Of course, the others would harass whichever crow had the egg, until he dropped it. They say crows are smart and they are, but instead of pecking the egg with it’s beak to break it, the crow would fly up with it and then drop it to break it. But if it landed in the long grass, it wouldn’t break and they’d have do it all over again. Once it finally hit some place where the ground was hard, like on the trail, it would finally break. They’d argue over who got to eat the insides of the egg laying in the dirt. It was a lot of work just to break an egg. I suppose they eventually got the whole nest of turkey eggs.

  • Reply
    September 28, 2011 at 2:12 pm

    Wow – what a show! Maybe the crows were rewarding you for showing the kind of grit and determination that made us a great people!

  • Reply
    Pat in east TN
    September 28, 2011 at 2:05 pm

    I got a kick out of your video! Sometimes the crows will gather here and are very vocal, like in your video. We always laugh and say it must be a family reunion of some sort.

  • Reply
    September 28, 2011 at 1:21 pm

    You are one brave woman; I would have worried about a visit from the slithering kind. However, were the caller tapes from either male or female crows? Maybe its a good thing they didn’t find where you were calling from. I loved the video as well as the story. I think I will stick to feeding and watching the birds.

  • Reply
    September 28, 2011 at 12:12 pm

    You do go all out when you set your head to it. That was an excellent video and the audio was
    even better. That’s an eerie sound
    when you’re right in the middle of
    them. As I clicked on the video and the sounds started coming out,
    all three of my little feists went
    beserk. I got the oldest one up in
    my lap and he watched and pointed
    them ears straight up, he wanted
    to paw the monitor.
    All that hard work really paid off, and we do appreciate it…Ken

  • Reply
    September 28, 2011 at 11:38 am

    I love this about crows. Please be careful and keep an eye out for snakes especiaslly the rattlers.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    September 28, 2011 at 10:58 am

    Tipper, that is a wonderful video. Did you hear what they were saying…..”Tipper’s come to play with us, come and see, come and see”
    What a remarkable experience and now you have your very own crow story.
    I love the way the sound faded away as they exited the area.
    Somehow there is a knowing in the crows!

  • Reply
    Bob Aufdemberge
    September 28, 2011 at 10:43 am

    I’ve enjoyed the Week of the Crow. Always liked those birds even though they could be pests at times. Always admired the way they weren’t afraid to take on hawks and owls and even eagles. When I was a kid we had a pet crow named Jimmy that some of our neighbors had caught in a nest and given us. We tried to teach Jimmy to talk, but did not resort to the commonly believed practice of splitting his tongue. Never had any luck at it, though. Poor old Jimmy met a sorry end. My mom was doing the weekly washing with the old wringer washing machine and had to do something else and went off and left the wringer running. There were some strands of yarn stuck on the rolls of the wringer and they must have looked like worms to Jimmy. He apparently tried to grab one and was pulled headfirst into the wringer. We gave him a decent burial, and never had another pet crow.

  • Reply
    September 28, 2011 at 10:22 am

    Awesome video! Your mention of the crow calling machine, just made me remember that my grandpa had a crow caller. It was shaped sort of like a whistle and he could always call the crows in with that. Of course, I took great delight in grabbing the whistle and running all through and around the house blowing it and driving everyone crazy!

  • Reply
    September 28, 2011 at 10:19 am

    Yeah for calling the crows, excellent work and cool video:)

  • Reply
    Elizabeth K
    September 28, 2011 at 10:09 am

    You made my morning, I really chuckled thinking of you in camouflage laying there with your camera. Of course those crows came for you – women’s magic in the woods!

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    September 28, 2011 at 9:57 am

    Great video!

  • Reply
    September 28, 2011 at 9:39 am

    You go girl!! Just read your adventure with the crows. Like your determination. Reading your posts is always a good way to start my day.

  • Reply
    Sue Nugent
    September 28, 2011 at 9:22 am

    I watched your video with my ears plugged. I just knew there was going to be a loud blast from a shotgun at anytime.We are pestered by Starlings moreso than crows, although we do have a few crows occasionally,too.We use to have a friend drop by once in awhile to call in the crows. It is fascinating to watch them gather in with the use of a crow call.

  • Reply
    B. Ruth
    September 28, 2011 at 9:04 am

    I loved this post….what if some “creepy crawlie” was around that old dead pine a Timber Rattler or Copperhead..oooohh..
    then again the crows probably would have sent them into hiding..
    I could hear that gurgling or throat knocking sound crows make, in the background on the tape, so I knew the tape was still running as they were circling around…Like I told Jim about his story…that movie “The Birds” scared me to death and that circling of the crows reminded me of it again…
    You are devoted to your readers and I thank you for “cawling in the crows”…pun intended!…I am glad they didn’t see who you were as I have heard they hold grudges and recognize peoples faces even after years of visiting their area…
    Thanks for a great post Tipper,

  • Reply
    September 28, 2011 at 8:19 am

    Love this post… I’ve been watching, following, feeding, photographing crows for years. They ARE difficult to photograph… another reasons is they are black and it makes getting enough contrast to see details… come see my post about crows and the UW professor who studies them.

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