Saturday, 28 July 2012

Of Hooded Crows and local rarities

The other day I thought saw a hooded crow in Musselburgh. I recorded it on the Birdtrack website (which is a useful place to record your sightings of UK birds and now dragonflies. By sending your records to Birdtrack, you're helping the British Trust for Ornithology to keep track of how birds are faring in the UK).
The hooded crow is a subspecies of the carrion crow. The carrion crow is common all over the UK, the hooded crow is only found in the north and west of Scotland (though I think it's common in continental Europe). Hybrids of hooded crow and carrion crow are seen sometimes.
As the hooded crow is a local rarity I had to fill in a form on Birdtrack, detailing how close I got to the bird, how many hooded crows have I seen before etc etc. I got a nice email back saying my bird is likely the 'well known' Musselburgh crow that's 80% hooded crow, 20% carrion crow. They won't accept my record until I've checked whether the bird has enough grey on it. they sent me this useful link, showing a very co-operative Norwegian 100% hooded crow demonstrating just how grey a crow needs to be to be classified as 100% hooded crow.
So if you think you've seen a hooded crow in east of Scotland, do check the amount of grey under the tail....!
As ever, red text contains hyperlinks that take you to other webpages where you can find out more. 

10 comments:

The Weaver of Grass said...

I saw plenty of hooded crows in Russia some years ago Juliet. The locals regarded them as pests but I was so excited to see them. I love all the crow family.

Bill said...

hooded crow . . .
a touch of gray
at the roots

Crows are the most fascinating of birds to me.

Ms Sparrow said...

How interesting! Hope your crow "passes muster". I'm a big fan of crows as well. Our local crows are fond of congregating in cemeteries. I live near several cemeteries so I get to see and hear their interactions.

Ms Sparrow said...

I love Bill's haiku!

Titus said...

Like Weaver, I am very fond of the corvidae family. Regret to say I've never seen a hooded crow, but I like the idea that there's a famous Musselburgh one!

the cuby poet said...

Agressive bird the hooded crow. Seen plenty on the west coast of Scotland and in the Hebrides, great that you saw one at Musselburgh. Didn't know about this bit of the BTO will check it out, thanks.

the cuby poet said...

Agressive bird the hooded crow. Seen plenty on the west coast of Scotland and in the Hebrides, great that you saw one at Musselburgh. Didn't know about this bit of the BTO will check it out, thanks.

Gillena Cox said...

quite interesting; alway like when you give us the hyperlinks



much love...

Elaine O'Mahony said...

thank you for the interesting article. When I travel back to Ireland there are hooded crows everywhere. They are probably more common there than the carrion crow. It's amazing the difference in biodiversity over such a small distance between Scotland and Ireland!

eileeninmd said...

Cool sighting of the hooded crow. Your birdtrack sounds a lot like our Ebird here in the states. It is great to be able to keep track of how the birds are doing.