Anytime you visit Lincoln Park is a special time and so it was yesterday. We went to the park so Bob could practice fishing for sea run cutthroat. I went along to walk the beachfront and take pictures.
I’d just left him fishing when I noticed something out of the corner of my eye.
When I turned I saw a large whale tail slap the water – a gray whale had breached! I’d come hoping to finally see a whale and this was my lucky day! Not so lucky that I had time to take a picture but lucky to have seen it at all!
Afterwards I sat and watched with camera poised hoping for another breach but that would be it for the day. So I headed over to the paved pathway for a walk.
It wasn’t long before I knew I was being followed.
By crows – cawing and making a ruckus. They were trying to tell me something, a case of mistaken identity I assumed. I’d done nothing to bother them so I kept walking. They were not deterred and continued to follow, flying ahead and landing in front of me. I stopped.
“I don’t have anything to eat,” I said to the one approaching. “You must have me confused with someone else.”
Still they came, cawing, swooping, landing in front or on nearby trees. I like crows but I have to admit it was a little weird. There were a few other folks on the path and none of them were being accosted by crows.
“Really,” I said. “I don’t have anything. No food. No nothing. So go on!”
I didn’t wave my arms or clap my hands or make a commotion. But I was puzzled by their behavior and did want them to leave me alone.
Eventually I headed over to the beach to continue my walk in peace. The air was fresh and salty, the sky was silver gray, and all manner of colors and shapes were on display.
After a while I began to notice a few crows hunting in the seaweed.
I tried to ignore them and hoped they would reciprocate.
Most did, but one headed my way.
“How weird is that?” I stopped to talk to to a women seated on a bench.
“The crows seem to be following me today – and I like crows – I really do – but I don’t know why.”
She had just moved here from Southern California and it was her first time at Lincoln Park. I welcomed her to Seattle and told her of the bald eagles overhead and the whale I’d seen earlier.
And while we talked the crow stood nearby.
“He’s really watching you,” she said. “Do you come here often? It seems like he wants food.”
Actually I didn’t come often – maybe every few months since I live south. But then I remembered an incident earlier this year. We’d come to walk in the park and I’d brought peanuts along for a snack. The squirrels wanted some so we gave out a few and soon the crows arrived and wanted their share too. (Pictures below are from that story. )
Could it be the crows remembered me from our visit months ago?
(“There she is! The lady with the peanuts!”)
I really think so! I have no other explanation for their behavior towards me.
So we’ll be back again. For more fishing. And walking. And hopefully whale sightings.
And perhaps also with peanuts.
Crows are so smart. I wouldn’t be surprised if they remembered you and the peanuts. Looks like a great day.
Yes, we had a wonderful day. And I truly believe the crows recognized me from our visit earlier in the year. They amaze me! 🙂
I love this story! As long as they are no threat, perhaps they deserved a treat for remembering you and welcoming you back with open wings!
Thanks John! I really like crows but was a bit surprised by their persistent following – until I remembered the peanuts from months ago! I found it very intriguing and yes, I figure I owe them some next time! 😀
I have no doubt at all that the crows remembered you. they are very intelligent birds, and not that scared of people. Peanuts would be an unusual and valuable snack for them, which is why I am sure they remembered you. And the American Crow lives for up to 8 years, according to Google.
Best wishes, Pete.
At first I couldn’t understand why I was being singled out. Then I remembered the trip earlier this year when I was carrying peanuts! It was such an interesting encounter, I rather enjoyed it! 😊
I think, from seing their beaks, I believe these are Ravens, a close cousin to th crows. Both these birds are incredibly smart, especially the Ravens so I am guessing they knew exactly who you were. And, NO peanuts?
I thought ravens were bigger but it’s hard to tell them apart. Either way, I guess I’ll have to bring peanuts next time! 😊
Your story about the crows reminded me of a program we watched on PBS about imprinting. It seems the highly intelligent crow does have quite a memory. These crows most likely remembered you from before. Somehow you are imprinted on their brains from that previous visit, and they expected you to feed them AGAIN. A lovely post and I’m so glad you’ve seen your first whale; I haven’t yet but do hope to do so soon.
I loved that they’d picked me out to follow and pester though it took me a while to figure out why! 😉 And it was such a treat to see a whale from shore. I knew they were in the area but I’d never seen them in Puget Sound before. I have seen them from other locations like the Oregon coast and Hawaii, as well as on our cruise to Alaska. It’s always a thrill. I hope you see one too! 🙂
Shades of The Birds! Better take peanuts next time to be safe. Years ago, a pair of gray whales hung out for most of a summer toward the south end of Whidbey Island. Used to go out in little boats to see them, but they’d also come very close to shore sometimes. Wonderful times.
Yes indeed, it crossed my mind! 😉 It was wonderful to see a whale in Puget Sound – finally! 🙂 Do you also see them regularly from the Big Island?
We’ll go back again and I’ll sit and wait for another appearance; and yes, I better bring peanuts for my friends!
Actually, your post reminded that our humpback whale season should start soon. Usually, the first sighting is late October or early November, though it’s not until December that numbers pick up, with January through March being the peak months. I often see them during my walks along the coast, sometimes quite close in. Still hoping to get a ‘dream’ photo, though I’ve come close a few times.
Timing is everything! I’ve only seen whales a few times on my trips to Hawaii, always from a great distance and mostly just the “spout” from the blowhole. I did get a few photos on our cruise to Alaska but they weren’t great. The best photos probably come from a whale watching cruise but I’m not sure how I feel about that, for the whales sakes.
Yes, whale watching cruises are probably the most reliable way to see them. I have mixed feeling about them too, but the reputable companies are pretty good about following the rules and not crowding or chasing whales. It’s the ‘unofficial’ operations that are more problematic. I haven’t done a whale cruise here, but I might one day.
Great shots of your “pet” crows, Susanne! They are incredibly smart and rank in the top 10 in intelligence in the animal kingdom. I believe they live a long time as well!
Thanks Terri. 😊 I guess they love me for my peanuts! Apparently they have a long memory too! I’ll have to remember to bring them some next time!