Who Is Tagging Downtown Crows?


What kind of bizarre scientific experiment is being conducted in West Edge? Out on Spring Street this afternoon, I watched an adult crow teaching its fledgling to forage on the sidewalk--for pizza crusts, dried gum, aluminum foil, plastic shopping bags...they can eat anything. The mature bird had several plastic bands on its feet, both feet, that looked to be green and yellow. By the time I returned with my camera, they'd flown off. (Photo above is for illustrative purposes only.) Still, I demand answers and intend to purse the matter further. Is this some kind of Audubon Society thing? Naturalists at the U? Ornithologists? City of Seattle sanitation workers? Who? Who would be trapping and tagging crows? And why?

These aren't pigeons we're talking about. Crows are smart, cagey, streetwise. They've been known to use tools. They will harass and intimidate larger birds, open your trash cans, steal your PIN code at the ATM. Two local authors have even written a book on the subject, In the Company of Crows and Ravens. I can't imagine they're easy to catch and band. (And, as I've written before, I don't think they're protected species in Seattle.) There must be a reason.

Unless, and this just came to me, unless they are intentionally tagging themselves to mess with our heads! Because that's just the kind of thing they'd do, those cunning, crafty birds. Only more reporting will solve this riddle.

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