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American Crow

Moss Beach, CA is very foggy, which makes for wonderful pictures. I like visiting the Fitzgerald Marine Preserve at different times of the day to experiment with lighting and fog. In this picture, the ocean is behind the trees and the sun is on the left.


Of course, every time I visit the preserve, I take a picture of moss.  Seriously, I probably have 1,000 pictures of moss.  This picture was a fluke.  My long lens requires a lot of light to take sharp pictures, so I use a setting that prioritizes the aperture over shutter speed.  The drawback of this setting is that if there is limited light, the aperture is exposed for so long that the picture becomes blurred from the shake of my hands.  In this case, though, it makes for a pretty picture.


On this day, a crow was standing on the edge of the bluff.  In this picture, his back almost looks like it has scales.


There are a ton of crows along the coast.  I always see them up in the trees and gliding in the wind.


Crows eat almost anything, including the eggs of smaller birds.  During nesting season, you frequently see the smaller birds chasing off the crows.  This is known as mobbing.  Starlings, in particular, will mob the crows.  It’s hard to make out the crow’s position here, but he dropped a piece of food.


Except for when the crows are being mobbed by other birds, they appear very haughty.  The crows will yell at anything, including me when I’m hiking.  Look at his stance, he’s not afraid of anything:


I occasionally see Common Ravens in this area too.  The best way to contrast the American Crow and Common Ravens is with a profile.  Here’s the crow:


here is the raven:



You can see that his beak is more curved.  The most distinctive characteristic, though, is the throat feathers.  If you see the throat feathers, you’re looking at a raven.

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