On my walk on Venice Beach, while surveying for Least Terns I imagined myself as a Crow, patiently flapping my leathery black wings above the sandy beach. It is cold and still cloudy out so not many humans were out and about but as they say, the early bird gets the worm or in this case, the unguarded Least Tern egg. I continue flying until I land on to the wet sand. With my long black legs I walk in search of food. In a sense I can feel myself wobbling, picking up my feet back and forth carefully almost like a human does when it walks on sand. But I am more clever. I watch as a fellow Crow pecks with his black straight bill into the sand. I do not know what he is eating but food is food. I happily walk and hop towards him. He looks me straight in the eye. I do the same. Without needing to say anything I know he won’t share so I wait patiently. He moves away and I start peaking at the sand. Small but extremely yummy invertebrates get caught between my mighty beak. I gracefully swallow the delicacy and it settles into my stomach. My companion stands by my side awaiting his turn once more but a greedy Gull puffs its white chest at us, showing off his strong yellow beak with black ring on the tip and red spot on lower side it. This greedy fellow opens his strong wings in a rather frightening pose. My companion flies off elsewhere. I simply walk away because there is more than one area on this beach where I can find food. So, once more I fly above the sand, watching closely the humans who walk on the beach. The sun begins to peek out of the clouds, shining on to the sand and making it glow. I thank the sun because when the sun is out, so are the humans! I land on a blue apartment building house close to the shore. I sometimes see humans in red walk in and out of it, I assume they like being in water. The sun warms my feathers up which makes me more excited. More humans arrive. I love humans! They leave all sorts of yummy food, I especially love the smaller humans because they leave behind my favorite food, the Cheetos. That orange fat looking worm is what makes me hang around the bigger flock of humans because the smaller humans always leave the Cheeto bags half dug into the sand. I eat the orange worms happily until there are none left. I fly once more not above the sand, but over food paradise which humans call “the pier”. I patiently flap my beautiful leathery black wings away from the beach. That is when I snap back into my human form because the Crow I imagined myself to be flew away from my sight. Thanks to humans altering the native landscape, Crows in Los Angeles have much more abundant food, water, and shelter than they had historically. This impacts other species, especially the Least Terns and Snowy Plovers because crows are nest predators. Our altered nature landscapes provide food mainly for Crows, Gulls, Dogs, Raccoons, etc. that strive from eating our garbage and leftover food left on the beach, causing more predators to be lurking about, which causes more danger to Least Terns and Snowy Plovers.

Categories: 2017 Interns

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