Local Ithaca/Dryden birds, 29 Aug 2000.

A typical day, the things I see every day on the way to the office (I wish).


These pictures were taken with an Olympus D-450 digital camera through a Swarovski HD80 spotting scope.

All photographs 2000 Kevin J. McGowan.


While looking for tagged crows at the Stevenson Road compost piles, the Ring-billed Gulls and I were joined by a Great Egret (Ardea alba). Although I heard it mutter a bit, I never saw it go after any food item.


Joining in with the 30 or so American Crows at the compost piles were 4 Fish Crows (Corvus ossifragus). Here is a picture of an adult Fish Crow feasting on something the Cornell dorm-ites left behind.

So obviously not an American Crow, isn't it?


Here is a picture of an American Crow (behind) and a Fish Crow (foreground) together (with a juv. Ring-billed Gull) on the compost piles. Note the short-legged, rather short-necked appearance of the Fish Crow, as well as the differently shaped bill. Any size comparison is useless in this photo, and it can be tricky in person as well. At this time of year (late August) the easiest way to tell them apart (other than voice; these Fish Crows were completely silent) is that the American Crows are in heavy molt and look really ragged while the Fish Crows haven't really begun molt yet and still look sleek. But, I wouldn't use that criterion for much longer this year. (One Fish Crow had begun molting its nasal bristles, but unfortunately my pictures weren't sharp.) 

For more on how to tell the two species apart, go to my Fish Crow ID page.

Later on in the morning I was lucky enough to stop in at the Lab of Ornithology and see this nice male Merlin (Falco columbarius) perched in the great dead tree overlooking the pond.


All photos Kevin J. McGowan

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Revised: April 06, 2005.