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Cruel to be kind

Cruel to be kind
Photo Information
Copyright: Gerhard Theron (gerhardt) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1936 W: 244 N: 4106] (11620)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2004-07-12
Categories: Birds
Camera: Minolta Dimage Z1
Exposure: f/3.5, 1/320 seconds
Photo Version: Original Version
Date Submitted: 2004-07-31 16:56
Viewed: 6706
Points: 10
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Corvus albus (Pied Crow, Corbeau pie, Schildrabe, Witbuikkraai, Corvo bianco, Svartvit kråka, Cuervo Pío Africano)

The crow is using its natural cunning to squeeze indigenous species off the centre stage. It stands accused of killing local birds in Tanzania (such as the paradise flycatcher) causing their numbers to nose-dive. At last count there were an estimated 300,000 to 500,000 crows in Tanzania’s capital, Dar es Salaam.

The crow arrived in East Africa in 1891, when the British governor of Zanzibar ordered their import from India. He hoped to harness their scavenging tendencies to combat the litter problem in Zanzibar's streets. Pandora's Box was opened and the crow population flourished.

The crow is not just interested in food scraps, it also attacks and kills indigenous birds to eat, or to get to, their eggs. They have even been known to attack sick animals like goats or domestic pets. Crows are amongst the most intelligent birds and their hunting skills are finely tuned. Crows often work as a team, one will chase a bird away from its nest by swooping aggressively at it, leaving the way open for the second bird to steal the egg. This entrepreneurial flare is taking its toll on the indigenous bird life of East Africa, driving many species from their natural habitats.

In Tanzania there have been a number of small-scale attempts to cut their numbers, but the initiatives have not been maintained. The Wildlife Conservation Society of Tanzania is orchestrating the anti-crow efforts. The society mounted a concerted extermination campaign using traps. Despite its early success, the trapping scheme has been neglected. Many traps have fallen into disrepair and the crow population is beginning to swell dangerously again.

Once people intervene in nature, they most likely will have to intervene again to set the wrongs, right.

danbachmann, japie, carper, Robbrown, nwoehnl, Callie, odin has marked this note useful
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ThreadThread Starter Messages Updated
To Callie: You are right, you could be right?gerhardt 2 08-02 03:05
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Critiques [Translate]

Thank you for the informative note. I belive China had a campaign to wipe out birds that were eating from the farm fields. With a low to zero budget, they planned for people to scare the birds - all the time, so they could not rest or eat and eventually would die. (Low budget, but lots of man power). Soon birds were no longer eating the crops - but insects were now eating more than the birds ever were!

I like the photo Gerhard,
Very good composed, It's only a shame he looks to the other side when you took this one. Colours are good to, very good job

Just the sort of post I was hopping for a very informitive note with a good picture, though I find the very blank eye a little disturbing ,it needs a bit of infill flash to enliven it a bit IMO, the expert in this is Callie. The rest of the image is very detailed and the composition capture the typical crow family way of looking at the world.

Nice posing you captured by the crow, Gerhard, and composition-wise it's great how his beak parallels the diagonal made by the piece of wood he is sitting on. You did well retaining the textural details in the black and white plumage (not easy). I kind of agree with Robert's comment regarding the eye. Outstanding notes with this one, very good.

Hi Gerhard
Nice witborskraai. Nice note too. I thought this was an indigenous African species, and that the house crow, such as we find in Durdan, was the imported one. Just curious, and always cross referencing for myself. As to the bird - it looks as if the nictating membrane is over the eye - you do not see it happen, as the mirror goes up when you press the shutter. Also, a bit of flash will help with the shadows. I will crop 70% off the left, to give a portrait view of the crow, I think it will improve your image impact. Try it, hold a piece of paper over it and the eyeball the right proportion.

  • Great 
  • japie Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1814 W: 100 N: 1904] (5187)
  • [2004-08-01 15:11]

Excellent note supporting this good image. The image has good detail and DOF and displays the crow as I know it, always looking around. The only negative thing for me is that the crow is in the middle of the shot. I would have prefered it to be a bit to the left. Points tomorow

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