crow in bare tree

Crow DIY?

Something is going on in the big Norway maple that shades my back garden. There has always been a family of crows living around here, but lately I’ve noticed a lot of flapping in that tree and heard a variety of crow vocalizations.

The other day was quite windy, and when I started my usual tour of the garden to see what was new, I found lots of foot-long twigs on the small round (well, roundish) lawn occupied by the table, chairs, and bird bath. Had the crows disassembled an old nest, or did a new one under construction fall apart?

twigs from crows' nest

If you were a crow, you could make this stuff into a nest.


I gathered up the twigs and put them on the table, adding freshly fallen ones to the pile through the day. I know nothing about nest-building, but wondered if the birds might decide to re-use the materials. So far they haven’t, although I’ve seen crows bringing new twigs to the site. That, and occasional wing-flapping sounds and crow calls, indicates that work is still under way. The previous collapse, if that’s what it was, hasn’t discouraged them. I’ve been thinking this may not be the best tree for their purposes, but the crows haven’t asked for my opinion.

Shoe Bird 1Somehow one feels privileged when birds decide to nest in one’s garden. I’ve found the sock-like nests of bushtits in different shrubs over the years, and in 2015, there were the Bewick’s wrens, a.k.a. the Shoe Birds, nesting in our back porch.

So I hope things work out for the crow family, although I’m a bit nervous about the defensive dive-bombing they engage in near active nests. And there might be deposits other than twigs falling on the table, chairs, and gardener. Maybe I’d better start wearing a hat.

Crow photo by Pixabay


  1. No crows here, but we have barn swallows nesting in two of our trees and on top of a porch pillar. I don’t want to hurt the poor swallows’ feelings, but crows are much more interesting birds. Yes, wear a hat. I’ve been, um, decorated on my head by a bird before. Blech!

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    1. The shoe birds (Bewick’s wren) didn’t seem to mind two humans coming and going through the back door a few feet away from their nest. And the dog (Newfoundland puppy at the time; lots bigger now) and elderly cat as well. I got to watch the parents bringing bugs to the nest for a few weeks. Then one day they were all gone. There are a still lot of these wrens in the neighbourhood. Some of them might be part of the shoe family.


  2. We have a pair of nuthatches that built a nest in what had previously been a lovely hanging geranium with trailing vinca. The geranium is completely trashed–the vinca is looking saggy. The birds take it personally when we water the plant or want to sit on our back porch. We were there first. The eggs have hatched and the chicks squawk constantly for food. I’m looking forward to fledge day–hopefully in a week or two. And the squirrel thinks the bird feeder is his, that he will reluctantly share with the birds. At least he has not trashed the metal feeder yet.

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