Killer Corbies

Small snakes seem to be very vulnerable

Just worth mentioning that I saw a crow eating an adder yesterday morning. I made a point this spring of photographing a buzzard eating an adder to settle a score with a few select bodies who told me with some authority that I was a liar for daring to besmirch the reputation of buzzards by saying that they kill other animals. It happens, and anyone who tells you that it doesn’t is welcome to have a look through my ever expanding collection of photographs of it taking place.

Anyway, leaving that entertaining little argument alone for now, I was sorry not to have had a camera when a corbie crow rose back off a dyke and into the wind, trailing a young snake from its beak. As the years go by, I am finding more and more evidence that corbie crows really are nasty pieces of work (even beyond their villianous public persona). In July, I found the remains of a frog which had been killed by a corbie, and although it’s obvious that they are just making a living doing what comes naturally, it has been an eye opening experience to find just how large and accomodating their diets can be. It may be natural, but it doesn’t mean I have to be happy about it – crows are not just egg thieves and scavengers, they are killers.

Once my larsens come in during the middle of June, I tend to leave the crows to themselves. By August, many of the empty territories I made in the Spring have started to get filled back up again, but this is after the vulnerable grouse and wader chicks have grown feathers, so it doesn’t really worry me. I’ll shoot the odd one here and there where the opportunity presents itself, but I don’t break my back to control them outside the breeding season. My hard work in April, May and June does significantly reduce the amount of crows throughout the year, but an increasing store of evidence portraying crows as predators maybe means that I should make more of an effort outside the spring to keep their heads down.


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