[Tweeters] Help identifying bird call please

Gary Bletsch garybletsch at yahoo.com
Mon Mar 1 09:48:46 PST 2021

Dear Heidi,
The source of that call would almost certainly have been a crow. 
There is a certain vocalization that crows make, that I call "The Human Voice Call." Most often I hear it in the autumn, but it can be heard at various times of year. I am not sure, but I think that I have heard it only in Western Washington. Perhaps it is a distinctive call made by our hybrid American Crow X "Northwestern Crows," although crows in general have broad repertoires. 
Here is a true tale about the ability of these birds to sound like humans. I suspect that I have bored Tweeters with this one before, but here goes. About 25 years ago, when I was teaching at Concrete Elementary School, we had on our staff an instructional assistant from Maine. She had a real Down-East way of talking. It eclipsed my New York accent. Part of her job was to stand out on the sidewalk in front of school after dismissal, making sure the kids got on their busses safely, which is not as easy a task as one might guess. Mrs. C belonged to that school of thought which holds that pupils should be told what they should do, rather than what they should not.
"We walk," Mrs. C would say, as the kids came scurrying across the broad sidewalk--only, with her Maine accent, it came out as "We waaaaaaalk." Then the kids would slow down and make their way safely to their Bluebird Coaches, fewer kindergarteners being trampled in the process.
One day after school, I stepped out onto that sidewalk for some reason, rather than collapsing in my chair as per usual. 
"We waaaaaaalk," I heard. "We waaaaaalk." Everything was right in the world. The kids were being told to walk, and they were walking. 
The only thing was, where was Mrs. C? There was no sign of her. There, however, perched atop the roof of the school, right above the doorway, was a crow. That bird was doing a spot-on impression of Mrs. C, and the oblivious cherubs were following directions, as handed down by that able-bodied avian substitute, the crow!
Yours truly,
Gary Bletsch
On Monday, March 1, 2021, 08:03:31 AM PST, heidi narte <heidi at dogwoodesign.net> wrote:

Hello Tweeters Friends,

I have an odd request. This morning while out on my usual walk around
Normandy Park I heard a bird call I've not heard before. Of course it
stopped before I could download a recording app on my phone. It was a
loud, raucous, "ow-ow ow-ow ooowwww." Kind of like what I emit when I
step on a piece of gravel in bare feet. It seemed to be coming from a
crow that was circling around, although, I'm not positive. It was
staccato-like, akin to a jay but definitely not a Stellars or Scrub. I'm
stumped. I haven't heard this call in the 20 years I've been walking
around my neighborhood. Any ideas welcome! Many thanks!

Birding in Normandy Park and the
Tweeters mailing list
Tweeters at u.washington.edu

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