Monday, July 11, 2011

Hooded Crow, Staten Island

This bird is an Old World species of crow, the Hooded Crow, at Crooke's Point of Great Kills Park (part of the Gateway National Recreation Area, just as Jamaica Bay WR is). Back when I still lived in Britain it was a subspecies of the Carrion Crow (Corvus corone) but subsequently was elevated to full species status as C. cornix. Hooded Crow is somewhat of a predator, and the local several pairs of Northern Mockingbirds instinctively know this - they're mobbing the crow quite hard whenever it pops into the parking lot, and often on the beach too. So although the above photo looks like they're companions, nothing could be further from the truth.

This is a pretty significant vagrant, or at least would be if they had much of a migratory habit - Hooded Crows show shorter range migration in winter as a reaction to hard weather (rather like Blue Jays) but like all the crows that I'm familiar with are mostly sedentary. Given the location it's rather tempting to think this was a ship-assisted bird. It could also be an escapee, but there's no obvious feather wear from a cage and the bird is fairly wary. Strongly suggestive of wild origin but I doubt it flew trans-Atlantic under its own power.

Also at Great Kills: Brown-headed Cowbirds incl juveniles (why can't the Mockingbirds harass these ?); Yellow Warbler; Willow Flycatcher; Gray Catbird; Common Tern; Osprey; the usual suspect on the Gull front.

Update: the Hooded Crow moved off Staten Island not long after I saw it, but was found again hanging out on Long Beach Island in New Jersey (this is south of Barnegat Light, so it's traveled a fair distance). As of August 5th it's still present.

No comments: