Thursday, May 15, 2008

A Real Live Crow's Nest

I often heard reference to a crow's nest on ships. Wikipedia tells us that, "A crow's nest is a structure in the upper part of the mainmast of a ship that is used as a lookout point." They go on to give a bit of the reason for use of this term. However, over the past month or so, I have been able to observe a real live crow's nest while walking on the treadmill at Cardiac Rehab Center where I work out 3 times a week.

The Center is on the 5th floor of the West Tower at Torrance Memorial Medical Center. Normally, we have a good view of the runways of the Torrance Municipal Airport and I like to tell others that I am responsible for monitoring the takeoffs and "touch and go" maneuvers of the small planes residing there. Sometimes, depending on which treadmill I was on, the view was partially blocked by a very tall evergreen tree of some sort. Its top is at eye level from our 5th floor location.

A month or so ago, we observed activity near the very top of the tree; a pair of crows were coming and going. Ah, that where the term Crow's Nest comes from; the location in the tree at which they build their nest. Soon one of the crows settled on top of the nest and the other brought food. Then they both would come and go, apparently bringing food to the new little ones settled at the bottom of the nest. We debated on how many baby crows were there as they grew and became visible. Most of us settled on the number 2 although occasionally I thought I saw a third head pop up. Then one day about a week ago, Neal Patterson, who was often on the treadmill nest to the one I was using, brought his camera and settled the discussion with the following picture:

Clearly, there are three open mouths thrust upward seeking the food proffered by mom (or is it dad). Thanks for clearing that up Neal.

Now we are waiting to see the little ones take off on their own. They have been testing their wings but have yet to venture forth from the nest in flight. When they do, we will have to go back to watching the planes again.


Note added, March 16, 2008: As I started my workout on the treadmill this morning, it was clear that the nest was empty. Three young crows were seen flying about and then gathering at the top of a nearby tree between their short flights. But they did not go back to the nest. Interesting!

1 comment:

Shauna Roberts said...

How fun! I've never seen a crow's nest in real life.