Let me tell you ‘bout the birds and the bees

THE STREETS OF DOWNTOWN Los Angeles are empty. The stores are closed. The museums are quiet. The tourists have disappeared.

But the wildlife, for the most part, seem quite content to be the only hustle and bustle around.

Each morning, when the sun peaks above the skyscrapers to illuminate our little window garden, the bees appear. It took us awhile to figure out how they could spot some plants in need of pollinating from so far away. We are perched up on the 11th floor.

So with a little research we discovered that plants emit ultraviolet rays, a visual cue to the bees to come on over. It’s a little sad we can’t let them in to do their business, but we appreciate the visits.

About the time the bees give up in late morning, the aerial dog fights begin.

This usually begins with a lone hawk. He takes to the air with just a few powerful strokes, and there he catches a thermal layer, which he can negotiate to gain another 50 feet at a time. A few more strokes and another ascent and before long he is soaring hundreds of feet high.

Sometimes, we see up to four or five of the beautiful predators.

Crows, it has been said, are the most intelligent non-mammals. They are perhaps not as graceful or aesthetically pleasing as their bigger brothers, but they have smarts and what’s more, they can communicate and use teamwork.

This comes in quite handy because the crows absolutely despise the hawks.

The crows are very territorial and create quite a ruckus when they believe the hawks are invading the crows’ home turf.

That’s when the dog fights begin.

Sherry captured this brave little crow taking on his nemesis in downtown Los Angeles.
A murder of crows atop the Broad Museum in downtown Los Angeles.

We watch the crows dive bombing the hawks on a daily basis. Usually the crows gang up in this endeavor, but occasionally even a lone crow will take on the big guys.

The hawks are apparently very nonchalant about the challenge and simply ignore the taunting. With just a flick of their wings, the hawks can soar another 100 feet upwards, to get a better view.

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