For weeks now Magnetic Islanders who have travelled past the Telstra communications tower near Cockle Bay have been witnessing a very public battle for domination of the site. On one side are the ospreys who recently built their nest and the other is a murder of crows who have gathered daily to harass and undermine the nervous raptors.
Just this morning up to 14 crows were spotted on or around the tower with the ospreys clearly under constant threat.
One doesn't wish to take sides when it comes to the laws of nature but it is hard not to feel for the ospreys who were recently spotted mating before they began their nest building. (read here)
A crow moves under the osprey nest
It is even harder when we witnessed an even more sinister approach adopted by the crows this week when a crow was spotted beneath the nest where is was tugging at the sticks and removing the less well secured pieces.
The arrow shows a small item removed from the nest by the crow
This morning Magnetic Times' Pen Sheridan spotted one of the 14 crows actually flying off with a sizeable stick.
But while we can feel strongly for the poor ospreys one has to admire the intelligence of their adversaries. Crows at Picnic Bay have been seen standing on the public drinking fountain or bubbler and applying enough weight to turn the handle in order to get themselves a drink.
Sticks from the nest at the base of the tower
Magnetic Island's more serious birders might wish to clarify if they believe that the crows we write of are Torresian crows or even ravens.
Story and photos: George Hirst
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Trouble at Telstra tower
Not sure about the species of crow but on Friday afternoon I not only witnessed another Osprey 'wingover' at the edge of the nest but moments later watched a White-breasted Sea Eagle, pursued by some of that murder of crows, momentarily touch down on the nest. The Ospreys were whirling around in a dither so there was action aplenty. I wonder if the bird life is getting a bit caught up in the novelty of a avian wedding in the neighbourhood?
What is the difference between a crow and a raven? This thought came to mind when visiting Ravenswood.
Can you not get Telstra to build a second tower? Or build a crow friendly facility near by?
Gay, best to use a search engine for pictures but the bird book (Pizzey) says: Australian Raven (Corvus coronoides) "Long throat hackle feathers form shaggy bunch as throat balloons out when calling". Torresian Crow (Corvus orru) "Resembles Raven but call differs, and on alighting, bird characteristically lifts and shuffles wings". Both species are present on Magnetic Island.