Despite its title the Lake District Osprey Project is not just interested in one species of bird. Ospreys do not live in a vacuum. All around them are other birds plants and animals acting out their own lives and re-acting to the presence of our annual migrants. The arrival of Ospreys both disrupts and adds opportunity to the residents of the valley. Take the neighbouring crows for example.
KL hates them for sure. In previous years we have seen her, diving and swooping and chasing any blackguard that approaches her nest, even though the crows are the all year residents. But the crows can turn the arrival of a big bird of prey to their advantage. Undeniably they are intelligent. Yesterday Unring caught himself an enormous trout and after eating the head sat quietly holding the tail on the big branch under the nest. Along the branch sidles a crow, smooth as a pick-pocket staking out a sea-side pier. Unring glares at him – he stops, staring innocently out at the view- until Unring turns his head away – then with a lightning lunge he leans forward and tweaks at the fish, dancing back as Unring snaps his beak and raises his wings. Crow knows he is in a winning position as Unring cannot chase him unless he lets go of the fish. And as ospreys never pick up fallen fish – Bazinga! a free dinner. In this case though Unring showed the white feather and flew off to a quieter tree so Crow had to be content to peck up the remaining fish scales and await another opportunity.
Amongst humans Crows have a poor reputation. They have been called cunning, vicious, acquisitive; scavengers of the rubbish heaps and scourge of new-born creatures. On the other hand crows have a fascinating and enviable home life, mating for life with strong bonds between the generations and communal support in raising families. They even take time out to go courting, so have a look at this gentle clip, extracted from a 10 minute romantic interlude. Mutual grooming or stolen kisses – Spring affection is in the air.