It’s being a very odd spring for the crows on the Chayne. I would usually have caught several pairs by now, but I have only been able to catch a single bird so far. It’s not as if my campaign is being badly directed (I don’t think) – I am just not seeing the birds that I would usually be catching; in fact, there are hardly any crows on the farm at all just now.
There has been a group of five non-territorial crows which hangs around the lambing fields, and it is from this gang that I caught my first and only bird of the year so far. However, it seems that these non-territorial birds are much less predatory than breeding pairs, so while I’m pleased to have caught one, it is not the same triumph when compared to catching a savage old cock bird near his nest. I have been keeping an eye on a single pair of corbies which lie up on some broken ground above the abandoned farm on the North side of the hill, but the fact that they are still together would suggest that she hasn’t even gone down on her eggs yet. I saw crows feeding young when I was in Derbyshire on Friday, so we must be quite far behind those birds down in England.
I did make some serious dents in the carrion crow population last year, so while I’m not complaining about the lack of visible crows on the farm this year, I hope that it is a result of their not being there at all, rather than having adopted some obscure new avoidance tactics. The traps continue to run and I continue to check them and move them around, but I wonder if the unusual March we had explains this strange lack of corbies.