Things are getting lively again – yesterday we had a nice Peregrine flyby; I would probably have missed it if I hadn’t been watching a crow do repeated u-shaped hummingbird-style swoops on a Kestrel sitting on the building across the way. Suddenly the crow headed out and a second later the Peregrine came booming around the corner of our building and swooped up and over. I don’t think he was after the crow, and it wasn’t clear what the crow thought; maybe he was just clearing for action.
Then this morning, on the way in through some nice, unexpected snow sprinkles, there was a sudden uproar of pigeons and crows near the road, and our local big female Sharp-shin came whipping over the roof in hot pursuit of a crow. It made a nice change; usually the crows are giving her a rough time, but this time she made him sweat for a little while before she banked off and casually sauntered away. Turns out crows are pretty darned maneuverable when they need to be. I suspect she was pissed because the crows wrecked her shot at a pigeon breakfast.
Speaking of crows, also on the way in, about a half dozen crows came gliding silently over the road, with wings held in a stiff curve, somewhat like the position a Turkey Vulture gets when it ‘dips’. I’ve never noticed that particular wing position before; the crows didn’t seem to be perturbed or anything unusual, just gliding down to a group session on the ground/in a tree. Could have been feeding, loafing or just hanging out. Overcast, gloomy, cool winter morning, no wind to speak of.
In other news, our hatchling theridiids (probably Steatoda triangulosa) have been out and about for several weeks, spinning little webs up the angles of walls, and under the front edge of the countertops and windowsills. I noticed some debris in one of them; a bunch of ants and a couple of baby cockroach shells. More power to them; even in the dead of winter, our household ecosystem is active. Now if only we had something that would catch mice. Our local White-footed mice have become smarter and smarter. They don’t get caught by snap traps any more (except the occasional very young one); they don’t get caught by the live trap either, and they haven’t even been eating the poison I’ve been leaving all over the place. I frequently hear the beating of their hideous feet at night, though, going back and forth. Maybe they’re just in the walls now and not out in the rooms. When I was a kid, we used to release Black Rat Snakes in the walls of our big old farmhouse in hopes they might at least give the mice a fright. Maybe I could do that here, if I could find any Black Rats. You can’t just go out in the back and hunt them down any more, even away from the city. I wonder if anybody does reptile surveys.