June 17, 2008

I Don’t Want To Crow Up


Good morning and welcome to my world. Today we are going to look at six different flavors of birds I’ve observed in the last week. On Saturday my daughter and I took the dog for an outing at Antonelli’s Pond and before you could say “Rajon Rondo” we came upon these two geese (photos #1 & 4.) Where they had flown in from I couldn’t say, how long they were staying was never discussed and just what where they doing there at that moment was never asked. But they were very observant and said I seemed quite relaxed, or as “loose or as goose.” When I returned the next day both had flown the coop with their Canadian passports.

I spotted the Great Blue Heron doing aerobics in an open field on Delaware Avenue. The cormorant was nesting along West Cliff Drive while grooving to Blue Oyster Cult. The little black and white fellow I actually shot a few weeks ago at Four Mile Beach. He seemed lost and wondered aloud if John McCain was really the Republican party’s best choice. The final shot is a couple of baby gulls who were just born on the rocks at Natural Bridges. With them are the proud mother and father who posed for this shot before getting back to the business of sending out birth announcements.

So let’s stay with the bird theme. There’s a crowing, or should I say growing problem in the Japanese city of Kagoshima. Crows have been setting up their nests on electric poles causing strings of blackouts in this city of 500,000 on Japan’s southern island of Kyushu. Blackouts are just one of the problems caused by an explosion of Japan’s crows, which have grown so numerous that they seem to compete with humans for space and jobs in this crowded nation. There are said to be 150,000 crows, 2 blue jays and an albino pigeon in Tokyo alone. Communities are scrambling to find ways to move or reduce the crow population as the birds have taken over parks, nature reserves and miniature golf courses, frightening away residents and caddies .

With wingspans up to a yard, intimidating beaks, sharp claws and money to spend, Japan’s crows are bigger, scarier and more aggressive than those usually seen in North America. Hungry crows have bloodied the faces of children while trying to steal candy from their hands and have carried away ducklings, prairie dogs and sushi vendors from Tokyo zoos. The city stepped up its efforts after a crow buzzed the head of the governor while he was trying to shoot an eagle while playing golf.

Japanese bird experts say the crow population and the use of teriyaki sauce have increased enormously since the 1990′s. Experts say that behind the rise is the growing abundance of garbage, many of them TV shows imported from the U.S. Actually, it’s because the Japanese have adopted more of a western lifestyle. This has created an orgy of eating for the crows and we’re not talking just grapes. They have become scavengers with an attitude. So the Kyushu Electric Power company has put together crow patrols that have removed 600 nests and a sushi bar since they began three years ago.

But despite these jumpsuited men in gray, the crows are winning as the nests, blackouts and adults with crows feet keep increasing. These birds are quite crafty. They have begun building dummy nests to draw patrol members away from their real nests. The crows have also shown a surprising ability to disrupt Japan’s supermodern technical infrastructure as over the last two years Tokoyo has reported 1,400 cases of crows cutting fiber optic networks, apparently to use for nests and better cable reception. Fortunately these black crowes are confined to Japan and have been unsuccessful in making the long flight to the U.S. mainland. I would estimate that’s about 6,000 miles by the way the crow flies.

So that’s our look at the black plague that’s reeking havoc in the land of the rising sun. Enjoy the menagerie of birds and congratulations go out to the new NBA champion Boston Celtics. This year’s playoffs were a tad disappointing (er, weak) as with a few exceptions the games and series did not live up to the hype. The western conference battles down the stretch during the regular season were a lot more intense. LA was a joke and a choke during the Finals. I guess this means I won’t be wearing my Kobe Bryant pajamas again till next season. Those padded feet were annoying anyway. Aloha, Laker fans.

1 Comment »

  1. What you never heard of tempura or teriyaki crow? Still waiting for those shots of the sand robins at Red, White and Blue Beach.

    Comment by Birdman of Alcatraz — June 18, 2008 @ 5:29 pm

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URL

Leave a comment

Follow Sunrise Santa Cruz on Twitter
Sunrise Santa Cruz in the news!