We’ve been trying to befriend a crow for ages. Any crow will do, but it must be particular, a personal crow that can be distinguished from the rest. Probably by being the only one that comes up and says Howdy. Because, basically, if you’ve seen one crow you’ve seen them all.
Like ants. If you’ve seen one ant in your kitchen, you’ve seen them all, or you’re about to.
Anyway for years now crows have deigned to accept our peanuts as long as we go all the way inside and shut the door after we toss them. This is hardly the relationship we were looking for. I blame Dave.
I blame Dave because for some reason birds have it out for him. They dive at his head, they bop his hat, they are unhygienic on his shirt. And he doesn’t deserve it. Crows supposedly not only remember individual humans they don’t like, but teach their children to hate them, too. If Dave inadvertently damaged a crow or hurt its feelings when he was seven, the word probably got out, and he remains a dark legend in the corvid annals. I say “inadvertently” because Dave can’t even skoosh a bug and the only time he’s ever harmed an animal was when he thought it was in distress and tried to mercy-kill it, but, lacking any skill for murder–I’m a beneficiary of that–he ended up making things a lot worse and sobbing for hours.
We have four crows associated with the neighbor’s Douglas Fir. Two of them have been busy whomping up the next generation, and the other two are, presumably, teenagers who are still hanging out for the wi-fi. And those two always pal around together, and they’re starting to feel warm toward us. Dickens and DooDah. They’ll both come within six feet for a peanut, and you can’t expect much more than that in a pandemic.
Not only that, but we can totally tell them apart. Dickens is sleek and black and shiny, and DooDah is a mess. He’s browner and less shiny and disheveled and itchy. And he makes the most wonderful sounds ever. He coos, he warbles, he chuckles. He sits on top of our little clock tower and chuckles his heart out. Our clock was never designed to be outdoors and the hands have long since told Gravity rather than Time. It’s perpetually six-thirty on that clock, and DooDah thinks that’s hysterical.
And before you ask, no, I do not know what their preferred pronouns are. I have enough trouble with that in the non-bird world.
|Dickens on the left, DooDah on the right|
Both of them are still a mite cautious about peanut retrieval, and if there’s a scrub jay within a quarter mile, it will bomb in and get the nut first. But when they do go for it, they hop in sideways with a wary eye, ready to peel out, and dash in at the last second for the nab, after which they retreat about two inches and commence hammering. They’re all, like, Careful, careful, Oooh! Peanut, and they forget all about the dire danger that is Us.
So we think we’ve been making headway.
And then yesterday I saw it. A bright foil circle shining from the vegetable bed. If you turn it over, it says “SKIPPY.” Nobody opened a new jar of peanut butter in our yard recently. I think Dickens found it somewhere and brought it in for us. I’m sure of it. DooDah’s too busy scratching.
Bonus video: sound up!
Oh, I do hope that you can befriend them! I really miss Shawn and his friend Canuck, over in Vancouver. Crows are awesome in the true sense of the word; not like when the waiter says "Awesome" to everything I order. Please keep us abreast of any developments!
Our waiters have gone over to saying "Perfect!"
For those reading this on a cell phone and wondering where the bonus video is, you have to scroll to near the bottom of the page and click on the link “view web version”. You’re welcome!
One must always keep in mind how large humans are relative to the other animal. We'd be pretty cautious too, around a creature as tall as a five-story building.
The scrub jays aren't a bit cautious. They have a stabby face and they know it.
How hot will Portland get this weekend?
Thanks for asking. Prediction is today 108; tomorrow 113; Monday 118.
118? That's our kind of summer weather usually, but we didn't get there last summer and I was so glad! Stay cool, turn on your A/C.
My what now?
They say 115 degrees Fahrenheit for a couple of days, then cooling nearly 20 degrees to “only” 97!
The Accuweather update for Monday is above. Shoot me right now.
Well, you have given me a new respect for crows. They even bring in garbage…perhaps as a hint for shopping ideas?
We could use some peanut butter.
I told a birder friend that I wanted to befriend a crow. She warned me that making friends with one would result in making friends with ALL of his friends as well. A murder on my deck? Sounds ok to me. Hasn’t happened yet though, even with my mealworms bribe.
That was a "warning?" Jeeze… I would LOVE that! I would even start to throw parties again, only with crows instead of humans. (Sounds like more fun anyway.)
Yeah, that doesn't sound bad! It's not like they're pigeons.
LOVE that sound. Thank you. We have bearded ravens rather than crows in our neighbourhood and I love them and spend a lot of time admiring them. Other birds are a tad wary when they fly in, but I am amazed and delighted.
I don't know if all crows can make these sounds (and DooDah did not do his entire repertoire here) or if certain ones specialize. I'd like to think they have designated cantors.
Crows have one less flight feather on each wing than ravens do, so the difference between crows and ravens is a matter of a pinion.
Stop that right now.
Oh hahahahahaha! I'm one what 'preciates a good pun.
They're warming up to you! I'm so happy. I still hope one day to get decent photos of the ones here, but they were adults when I moved in and I haven't seen any young ones, that might be more likely to come closer. I have been making progress with my magpies though. I'm throwing out mealworms by the handful twice a day, but not every day.
Oh magpies are fabbo. We don't have any in this area. Gotta go somewhere hotter and drier and I don't want to do that.
Not necessarily hotter. We have flying squadrons of them here and it never hits 100 F here. We raised a young 'un from Robin-size to independence in 1994. He found a mate and they nested in our courtyard. Every year he'd bring their nestlings to our balcony to show them off on their 1st flight out of the nest. And he'd visit, come to the front door, walk with our son to work, 'talking' all the way. They are *remarkably* intelligent birds.
We have had a family of crows here since we moved in. They come every day and Kevin feeds them. As soon as they see us outside they dive down and wait in our trees for a handout. They eat very well. We keep waiting for them to bring us trinkets like we’ve heard from others, but no luck yet.
We still have crows at the rental as well. As soon as Kevin drives up to do yard work they swoop down. They’re amazing.
We're getting the swooping for sure–even if they plan to land on the clock tower they swoop down low in front of us to let them know they've arrived. I am charmed.
Do you have a cat? Your crow sounds like it is meowing? Keep us updated.
I DO have a cat, Tater, but if I'm doing it right none of my birds will ever know what she sounds like!
I loved listening to DooDahs vocalizations. Quite a variety.
There's even more than that but this was a pretty good capture.
I wish you success! Our crows are so wary that they will skedaddle if they so much as see one of us moving inside the house through a closed window. In our yard, in decreasing order of their tolerance of the presence of humans are our hummingbirds, scrub jays, lesser goldfinches, California towhees, mourning doves, crows, and the most easily terrified, the orioles. Sometimes a crow will perch on the chimney and holler, though.
Those first two ain't scared of nuthin'.
I have two generations of crows coming daily to the food and water stations in my yard. If I don't get the food out in time they come to the front door and verbally abuse me until I comply. Often one or two escort me around the neighborhood as I walk the dogs, chatting with us as we go. Once back at home they enjoy playing with the dogs by swooping low over the yard, just out of reach, then landing in the tree and laughing.
Well, we all ARE pretty funny.