[Tweeters] Beach Crows

Jeff Gibson gibsondesign at msn.com
Wed Mar 12 10:53:18 PDT 2014

Last week I had fun at the beach.

That would be North Beach in Port Townsend, which was experiencing a mildly low tide at the time. One of my favorite things to do is snoop around a marine shore and Port Townsend offers better opportunities for that than my Mudville (Everett) home.

So there I was hopping around on rocks , and watching the Hermit Crabs and other neato creatures. I was soon joined by a group of about a dozen crows, beachcombers just like me. This was a completely silent bunch of crows, and as we all snooped around the rocks, the crows got closer and closer.

One crow got within about 8ft of me, and looking at it with my 8x binoculars, in perfect light, it really was quite beautiful - like maybe the best sculpture Tony Angell ever carved, which is saying something. Oh sure, I know we're all carbon-based life forms around here, but this crow looked about like 100% carbon. Real nice.

Being so close, it seemed like these crows were particularly small. Northwestern Crows? I really don't care too much about that issue, not being a rabid lister. I decided they were Beach Crows, a name that works for me. I am currently reading Marzluff and Angell's excellent book about Crows and Ravens and they had some good information about that whole NW vs American Crow deal.

The Beach Crows were having pretty good luck finding, and eating, large green Isopods - Idotea wosnesenskii. Imagine if your mild-mannered common backyard terrestrial isopod (known to many as potatoe bugs, woodlice, sow bugs, and some, roly-poly's) was exposed to gamma radiation and turned into the Incredible Hulk. That's kinda what an Idotea wosnesenskii looks like - if the Hulk was an isopod. If you pick one up they have the endearing quality of hanging on to your finger with their strong legs, which I always thought was kind of cool. Anyway, the crows were scoring big on these pickle green crustaceans.

A bunch of quiet beachcombing kids walked up, and the crows all flew off together - one giving a single croak.

Jeff Gibson

reporting from

Port Townsend Wa.

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