As a native New Englander, I’ve always loved California. I journeyed to San Francisco in early 1967 after college and stayed for four scintillating, life-changing years. From the early 70’s through today, I’ve spent my summers on Cape Cod and winters in warmer climes, Hawaii, Arizona, Bali, and now Southern California, since 2010. As an outdoorsman and bird lover, living year round in temperate zones has enabled me to see and hear a variety of song- birds on a daily basis.
I think it was last winter when I first became aware that there were far less bird calls in my Santa Monica neighborhood (Sunset) like the melodious mockingbird, and far too many crows. And this fall, when I returned again from Cape Cod, I was stunned by the utter preponderance of crows in this region, and the concomitant absence of other songbirds.
Every morning, the pre dawn moments usher in an ugly cacophony of cawing from thousands of these predators, and the same jolting ritual repeats in the early minutes of dusk. By nightfall all is quiet but meanwhile where are the other birds?
On Cape Cod’s outer beaches, part of the national Seashore since JFK dedicated them to this protected status in the early 60’s, a disturbing number of Piping Plover (endangered sea bird) eggs have been raided over the last few years by an increasingly mercurial crow population; so much so that executives of the National Seashore, The Audubon Society, leading naturalists, and birders, have called for a major culling of the crow population.
I don’t profess to be an authority on these matters but, as a lover of nature, I can’t help think that the intrinsic qualities of the crow (highly intelligent, physically adroit, predatorily oriented, and survival prone) have embellished its roll as a dominating species in this area as well as others, to the troubling detriment of other birds, and that we should seriously consider measures immediately to cull their numbers.
As a bird lover I can’t think of anything better to do.