Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Peanuts for Two, Please

Since last fall Bertram has bravely swooshed down each morning and afternoon to retrieve the peanuts I set out for him, while his mate, Corvina, stays on the power line and caws. In the last few days, this has changed, however. Corvina has been getting to the waiting spot on the power line before Bertram, and when I set out the peanuts, she comes down to get some of her own. This could mean that she's learning to trust me a bit, but I expect it's more due to the prospective mother's ravenous hunger.

You see, there's been a flurry of nest-building activity in the tall fir across the street, clear preparations for some little ones. From here, the crows will be able to monitor all my comings and goings, so they'll know exactly when to come down to the power line and remind me of my obligations.

I'm sure looking forward to having young crows around again. At our last house, a family of crows lived in a nearby tree, and the youngsters were fun to watch as they tried to learn to fly and get their own food. That group of crows wasn't afraid of me and would hang out in our yard while I was gardening. Until, that is, I found one of them sitting on the grass in our side yard. He remained there all day, and was clearly either injured or sick. After making a bunch of calls to find an animal rescue center that would take him, I finally connected with the Sarvey Wildlife Center. Bill and I gently picked up the crow and put him in a box, then drove him to a local vet clinic where a Sarvey worker came and got him. I never followed up to see what happened to him because I wouldn't be able to bear hearing he hadn't made it. The rest of the crow family stayed away from us after that, which made me very sad.

While writing this post, I decided to revisit a PBS special about crows. You can watch it here: A Murder of Crows. (BTW, a Murder of crows is a group of them.) It covers some research that shows how highly intelligent crows are and also tells about the crows social and family life, which is closer to that of humans than any other species on the planet. At one point, it showed a crow using its private family "talk," which is used only within it's own circle. I was amazed to see it because that is what Bertram was doing the day I thought he was choking. Now I feel so flattered. At least on that day, he must have been feeling pretty good about me.

(OK, this really burns me. Bill was just reading this post over my shoulder and said that Bertram talks to him with the special family talk, too. Bill is stealing another one of my pets, and he NEVER EVER gives Bertram peanuts! THIS IS NOT FAIR!)

Well, that's all the crow news I've got for today. Except, to save my sister, Jenn, from having to send me a comment about how I should have properly dressed the crows for my blog, here is how I imagine that Corvina and Bertram would have met and fell in love IF they were in fact people dressed up as crows dressed up as people.

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