The owl files – Chapter 2: A murder of crows . . .

11 July 2021

A murder of crows . . .

Yesterday I was renewing my First Aid certificate at Turtle Life Support in Germiston and, as luck would have it, there was a major insurgence of Pied Crows into the park. At around 08:30, there were over 40 crows wheeling above the Centre and calling from the palms in front of the building. Concerned about the female Spotted Eagle-Owl in the nest box, Cynthia climbed the ladder to check on her .  .  . and at least 20 crows that had been sitting on, and around the box took noisily to the air.

A barrage of ice blocks fired from the ‘crow catty’ finally persuaded the crows to move off (no blood was spilled in the process). When similar situations happened last year, the male Spotted Eagle-Owl would fly out of the Evergreen Oak up to the nest to support the female. He usually would shelter under the box where it was difficult for the crows to get at him and after I had chased off the crows he would emerge, look at me as if to say “OK, you’ve got this ” .  .  . and fly off back to his roost in the Oak tree. The new male however did not try and help at all yesterday, but at least the female stood her ground. She remained on the eggs until it was almost totally dark however.

By Geoff Lockwood

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