Thursday, February 26, 2009

Baba's ( the eldest baby ) First Big Flight - One week out of the Nest

"Valley of the Crows", Burringbar, Mt Warning Caldera Region, NE NSW, Australia
In the 9 weeks since the children of the Crows have had their fledgling flights, from their birth tree to the neighbouring Eucalypt, I have watched them venture further and further away.
They have more recently, at about two months out of their nest, taken long flights away to the major gathering of Crows (murder) down in the valley some miles away.
I have now seen the Crow children fly with their parents, high on the thermals, chasing Sea Eagles, Wedgetail Eagles and Hawks. This has proven to be rather dangerous, at times. 
When the children were very young, they also "play fought" and counted coup with Magpies and baby Kookaburras, while their parents watched on. 

During the first week out of the nest, the eldest Crow child, Baba,  had flown with it's father, high into the sky thermals, chasing after a Sea Eagle. 
On this day, sky was cloudy, and rather windy.  As the Sea Eagle passed their nesting trees, the father Crow swooped into the thermal, below the ascending Eagle, feigning attack. He was staying slightly away from the eagle, while the little baby Crow (who I believe was Baba, the eldest baby) flew much higher and further away from them, watching from above. 

Suddenly, the thermal took the baby Crow even further into the sky, with the Sea Eagle following skillfully, closing in on the baby. In the blink of an eye, both were far away from the father Crow, who instead of taking the air up, returned to their Eucalypt tree, and waited. 

Far above us, the baby Crow soared, higher and higher. The big Sea Eagle, over twice the baby's size, was in pursuit, occasionally flying to attack him. 

The father Crow waited in the Eucalypt below. The other two children and their mother were nearby, in their nesting tree, the Crow's Ash. The family waited.

The baby Crow was now circling far away to the north, with the Sea Eagle. They were approaching the clouds.   In a flash, the baby Crow veered suddenly into a fluffy grey cloud.

The Sea Eagle dodged quickly into the edge of the cloud too, after the baby Crow, then came out. After making another pass into the cloud, the Sea Eagle then kept circling slowly higher back into the blue sky, alone. Meanwhile the baby Crow had completely dissappeared. 

It was half an hour, before Baba, the baby Crow appeared again, and the family was all together, on the power lines outside, above the road. I thought to myself - baby Crows, are indeed amazing flyers, and very courageous!

The Crow Family (mother to the left, father to the right, children in the middle)

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