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cat herder

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  1. I thought I was done with this, but they just keep showing me even weirder stuff. 15 minutes ago, I saw one of the large birds leave the nest and go to a nearby tree. Then, a few obviously-ID'd actual crows (much smaller, in the same tree with the big bird) showed up, raised h-e-double-hockey-sticks, and chased the big bird off, even diving at it from above as it flew away. Do crows do that to other crows? And is there a crow species that is much larger (conservative estimate still stands at 4x the wingspan, could be more but I am trying to not sound like a crazy person) than the typical American crow? Fish crows are smaller than American crows, yes? And those are the only two crow species here? And it's not a raven 'cause they don't nest here? And it's not a golden eagle because that's just dumb, right? So what is it?
  2. OK, these must be crows. There was a bunch of crows in the yard yesterday about 6PM, black, unremarkable size, "CAW!CAW!CAW! CAW! CAWCAWCAWCAW!!" turned up to 11. I would say these were 1/4 the size of the nesting birds, but they must have been the same size since anything else would not be possible. Call this one closed.
  3. If this is any kind of crow, then I've never seen a crow before and these are the only two in the area.
  4. Pic with what I (non-bird person) would call 'normal sized birds' - bluejay, cardinal, whatever - as a size reference. Pic of the big bird (same pic as in first post), resized/cropped to get the tree/nest the same size in both pics. A cut/paste composite. Couple notes about distance/perspective and size. The small bird at the upper right was closer to me, on the near side of the tree. The large bird was on the far side of the tree, farther away. If both the big and small birds were at the same distance from the camera the apparent size difference would be even greater. Also the big bird is at an oblique angle, the small bird is square-on showing a full profile.
  5. When they leave the nest they don't do it gracefully at all. They sort of tumble out, drop a ways, and take a fair amount of time to get into level flight. Looks like about two wing beats per second when they're working hard.
  6. Oddly, I have not heard that distinctive call since these birds have been at this nest. Normally I hear it multiple times every day, to the point that not hearing it stands out.
  7. I can get better photos if someone is willing to donate better equipment (not in my budget, sorry). :( The best I can do is point-and-shoot camera held up to the eyepiece of ancient Sears binoculars.
  8. There is an audio file attached to a post upthread in post #6. Again, disclaimer, I did not see the bird that made that call, and I have not heard anything I can attest was from the nesting mystery birds.
  9. Well I am stumped. These are not crows. I understand the skepticism. I have lived in this house since 1974. I have seen turkey vultures overhead, in trees both near and far, and on the ground in the yard next door. There are barred owls that come through from time to time (maybe once a month), when I hear them I go out and watch them go from tree to tree. I have seen the owls in that very tree where this nest is. I have even seen one of the owls in the daytime, in a tree in my own yard (so at a distance of less than 100'), being mobbed by hundreds of smaller birds who were making it known they were very unhappy with their visitor. There are crows and jays that land in the yard to steal food I put out for the neighborhood cats, I see them up close and as they fly away. My size-estimating capabilities are fairly well calibrated to the area. These nesting birds are at least as big as the turkey vultures and clearly obviously bigger than the barred owls.
  10. I've seen turkey vultures in this same area & similar distance, these are bigger than that. Color is dark but not solid black, no distinguishing markings. I figured the shape of that tail in pic #2 would be distinctive enough on its own to get an immediate ID, I have searched and searched and can't find a match.
  11. Wow. Golden eagle? Do I need a second opinion? Isn't that... unusual in the extreme? That was my guess but I ruled it out after Wikipedia claimed they don't breed in this part of the country. I thought I was losing my mind (though... still may be, just not over this). I have an audio file of a bird I have never managed to witness, but I hear it almost every day, for a very long time (audio was recorded in 2014). Again, sounded like the only plausible match was golden eagle, but ruled it out for the same reasons as above. The bird making this call is present year round, in the wooded area in the middle of a residential city block. mysterybird-8-20-14.mp3
  12. The tree is about 1/4 mile away and well over 100 feet tall. Would you like to guess again? Unless you can direct me to a crow with a 4+ foot wingspan.
  13. Hello bird people! I hope these photos are enough for an ID because it's driving me crazy. All the possible matches I've found aren't supposed to breed anywhere near here. Central Mississippi. I noticed them around a week ago. There's a pair, and they are bringing food to the nest all during daylight hours. Here is a pic of the area without the zoom to give a sense of scale (nest circled in red). Whatever it is, it's BIG!
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