The ten-year crow project is off the ground and flapping!
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!