Tuesday, 5 April 2016

A Hoodie Pair

The hooded crow, or hoodie as it's know in Scotland, has a wide distribution across northern and eastern Europe and, in the British Isles, is largely confined to Scotland and Ireland. The hooded crow (Corvus cornix) is closely related to the carrion crow (Corvus corone) but they are different species and have separate geographical distributions, though the two populations interbreed where they meet.

This morning I sat and watched a pair of hoodies near the jetty. One stood on a rock doing nothing except follow the other's every movement. It didn't seem to be acting as a lookout because it allowed me to approach quite close without reacting.

The other was working its way across the weed-covered rocks and wet mud of low tide, carefully turning over each piece of loose seaweed and feasting on what it found.

The great advantage hoodies have is that they are intelligent, opportunistic, and willing to eat almost anything. They're disliked by the crofters because they, along with the ravens, will attack weakened stock, for example pecking out the eyes of newborn lambs. Despite their success, they are in a state of almost constant warfare with the ravens, of which there seem to be more and more each year, and the buzzards, who seem to be losing their battle with the corvids.

When I stood up to go, the second hoodie turned towards me. It may be a trick of the camera, but she seemed to have the most stunning blue eyes. No wonder her mate was watching her with such open admiration.

1 comment:

  1. I love seeing the hoodies when I come to Scotland - it's always been a family holiday thing of "Who can spot the first hoodie!" when we are travelling up.

    I know they are the same family as carrion crows, but they seem to behave quite differently, being far less solitary than crows.