Sunday, January 11, 2015

Corvid Circus

As winter breathes her chill across the country fields, the snow piles in drifts along the driveway.  But we shall find entertainment abounds in the woods beside the cozy house. I have been spending time watching the Corvids, a particularly intelligent family of birds.
The wary American Crow visits.
 Each morning the crows arrive. They have travelled cross country, most likely from the city of Mansfield where they roost by the tens of thousands in the winter. Each morning they disburse looking for food and foraging in nearby fields.

Blue Jay are frequent fliers in the yard.
Generally crows aren't interested in the comings and goings of yard birds, not even their cousin Corvids the Blue Jays.  But snow covered fields makes the winter foraging more difficult.   You can't blame these black beauties for wondering how the jays have trained me to feed them each day.  After all, crows are quite clever.
 And so the crows come to look, and wait.  Soon they have trained me to toss a variety of goods out the front door: corn, small fruits, sunflower seeds... and the occasional pizza slice.  Once the scout finds treats on the sidewalk, the call (caw?) goes out.  It is more emphatic than the normal roadside chatter.  This a serious business, the scout need to alert the collective group. Food  has been found and it will be shared with the whole  "murder".  Crows are highly sociable beasts.

The crows watch as the smaller birds, mostly Blue Jays and American Tree Sparrows work the seed on the ground.  These birds are regulars  and routinely come to the feeders.  They exhibit no fear.  The wary crows watch and wait near the edge of the woods.  American Crows have long been persecuted by farmers and know there is no such thing as a free lunch.
At least that's what they thought.  But look, there is a free lunch! And it is pizza!
Just a word to those who may believe I am harming the crows by offering the occasional left over pizza. Last week the wise guys got tender roast beef.  These boys are true omnivores and are not all that particular about the fare. In fact, the fresh mice from our snap-traps are a particular delicacy. The only thing which could make these meals more attractive would be a trash can spilled over next to the goods.
Then they would believe they were working for their food and it was not just a trap.
These photos are taken through the window.  Crows in my neighborhood are quite shy of paparazzi.  Given time, I believe they will associate me with the goodies and allow me to better photograph the entire group.
But not yet.  For now I am content to watch the "crow show" from behind the window curtains.  They have an interesting pecking order and interact in comic ways.    
American Crows are not your typical bird-feeder birds, but then again, I am not your typical bird feeder.  


  1. Pizza and roast beef? I might have to put on a crow costume and hang around your house.
    Our crows get an occasional mouse – mostly ones I wrestle from the cats.

  2. Yeah, and if I left a beer out there- who knows what might show up!