Worcestershire Record No. 18 April 2005 p. 7


Rosemary Winnall

It all started when I spotted an albino Carrion Crow. Well, it wasnt completely white, but had a few beige markings on one side of the neck, which meant I could check that it was the same individual. It was in our valley at Willow Bank near Callow Hill during March 2004 with two black crows. During the winter 2004/05 it was seen almost daily up along the Greenway, 2.5 kilometres away, but in March 2005 it moved back to our valley still with two black crows. It has been here for a month now, but because the group seems to go around as a threesome, Im wondering if they are juvenile non-breeders.

I thought it would be a good idea to try to get a picture of this crow, so I started putting out meat in our garden and erected a bird hide in March 2004. We put out cooked chicken carcasses and meat left-overs, and collected rabbit road casualties. The crow never came down and had already moved on, but we got some good close up views of foxes and mice at night with an infra-red security camera bought for wildlife viewing!

Then, at the end of the summer the resident buzzards started to take an interest and began to come down to feed. One of the pair seemed particularly unfazed by activity at the house. The second buzzard was much shyer. I saw another photographic opportunity and began feeding daily, with a lot of help from Bewdley Quality Butchers in Bewdley who provided raw meat off-cuts. I gradually moved the food closer to the hide and managed to get some photographs. Occasionally both Buzzards were down on the bank together, and then one waited for the other to finish feeding before approaching the food. I put the food out before dawn in the morning, and the Buzzards were there at first light. This provided difficulties for photography, but reinforced the observation that Buzzards feed early. If I was late feeding, no Buzzards came down and presumably theyd gone off to another site to feed.

Ravens fly over Willow Bank calling and somersaulting almost daily. I think they move from the roost and nesting site in the Wyre Forest in the early morning across towards the Teme Valley and Menith Wood and return in the evening! Id love to know where they go and what they are up to! During the time that we fed the Buzzards, a Raven landed on our bank twice. What a large bird the same size as the Buzzard! However, this species did not land regularly. We stopped feeding in April 2005 for the summer. We found that the crows and magpies were regularly digging up parts of the meadow to bury the spare food! I didnt want our orchids and solitary bees disturbed!

(BUZZARDS someone mentioned to me that they had seen a buzzard take a magpie in mid-air! I cannot remember who, what or where but it was in 2004!. Buzzard stories still required, please. Editor.

Buzzard in a garden! 
Photo Rosemary Winnall
Glimpse of a white crow. 
Photo Rosemary Winnall

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