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My new project: Operation Friendship Garden Crow (1 Viewer)


Two birds in one.
For starters, I grew up in a rural culture that was at war with the crows, something mostly based on the belief that they would ruin sweet corn crops but I think mainly based on the general feeling that they were somehow creatures of darkness (Christian memories of Woden's ravens?). The persecution of crows was intense and if you were out and about with any sort of gun-like object in your hands, a stick or whatever, you only saw crows on the far horizon, probably as they were keeping an eye on you. As a birder I of course started to realise that covids aren't all that bad but my attitude really changed after I came across this charming old story from the BBC, "The Girl Who Gets Gifts From Birds: https://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-31604026

Already coming to admire crows for their intelligence, that story sort of won me over and I've been pleased to have them start visiting my feeder setups over the past few years: they weren't driving off the smaller birds or committing the general mayhem they're often accused of, or at least not very much :) , and it was nice to have a new species in view. In light of their folkloric love of shiny objects, and in consideration of the BBC story, I've also been leaving out things like shiny Canadian nickel coins and children's glass marbles, which they've sporadically been carrying off as if to oblige me. The one thing is, though, that they've also started using my bird bath to soak food items they bring in and drop in the water, with bread being the most problematic because they leave it intending to come back later but it turns into a soggy mass and contaminates the whole thing into bread soup (they also bring in, wash and leave fragments of small meat items the origin of which it is probably best not to go into, but the bread is the worst). Being in Covid-19 quarantine in this area, I've been around to go out and remove the blasted bread and have started burying it- yesterday I had a small murder of 3-4 crows in a tree about 30 metres away jeering at me as I did so- but I don't know if I can cure them of that one practice or will have to start seriously discouraging their visits, taking advantage of their learned wariness as it were. Time will tell, but my feeders are designed to discourage larger birds so it may be a polluted bath or nothing situation with them if I can't figure out a food item that they will take. This is the status of Operation Garden Crow so far, the project continues!

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