Saturday, 21 February 2009

Crow-munication

...

As I've mentioned before, our garden and surrounding area is owned by a crow family - mom, dad and teenage kid. I put out our left overs and bread bits for them. They're nervous of people and usually fly off when I go out, returning ages later to check for food, which means the gulls get it first a lot of the time. The gulls here are bullies!

I've been trying to get the crows to understand that it's safe by making the same noise every time I leave food for them. I always click, like a rider does to a horse. I do that because it's a fairly easy noise to make and I can "click" pretty loud. Loud enough for crows at the bottom of a field to hear me. Over the last few months they have lernt to come when they hear me. The moment I "click" they fly over fast, wait nearby until I go inside, then dash for the food.

Last week that all changed. I was outside putting out food, but couldn't see the crows anywhere. When I clicked I heard a really odd noise. I clicked again... and there up on the wires was Father Crow, clacking back to me! He sounded like someone hitting a metal pipe with a hammer, but it was definitely a reply clack to my click every time. How thoughtful of him to try to communicate back in my "language"!

I can't wait to see if he keeps it up. I wonder if the rest of the family will learn the new language as well?
...

11 comments:

  1. That's great, Michelle! Before I became the servant to the three orphaned kittens/cats now running my house, I used to whistle for my crows in the morning.

    Pretty soon, they were cawing for me if I didn't get out with their food at our regular time.

    Now they scold me for having cats.

    I used to feed my crows peanuts in the shell, chunks of hot dogs and hard boiled eggs. I stopped putting out the peanuts and the eggs because the squirrels and starlings were over-running the feeding station, dropping things they couldn't carry all over the yard.

    How great that your crows are communicating with you by trying to "speak" your language!

    Martha

    ReplyDelete
  2. Michelle - Just popping in quickly to say that there's a wee Award up for you over at mine. :-)

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thanks for sharing your own experiences, Martha. I chuckled at them scolding you for the cats. In Africa I had a very tame garden bird (Bulbul) who would get quite "hissy" if the birdbath was dry. She'd even come sit on the window ledge and chatter angrily at me to DO SOMETHING about it.

    Twilight
    Thank you! I will be around to pick up my award ASAP.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hey, this is SUPER cool, M! Keep us updated on this crow-munication thingie! I'm VERY curious!!! :-D

    ReplyDelete
  5. Hi Michelle,

    What a great reward for months of clicking! :-). I love the photo you used - did you take it?

    ReplyDelete
  6. Amel
    I'll certainly let you know if they do it again. :-)

    J~J

    Thanks. :-) Sandy took the photo, with a zoom lense. I'm going to see if I can get them from closer now that they're less nervous.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I coo at the ones who visit me, mllmp mllmp, kmpll kmpll. I don't know what it means, but I noticed a few years ago that they make that sound to each other ...

    They make it back at me...and when they want food, they come near my window (I live downtown these days, and my window faces an alleyway)...and they coo for me. I reach out and feed them peanuts and ritz crackers.

    I'm sure my neighbors hate my guts.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Crow-munication, haha, I like that one, Amel.

    I want to communicate with birds like you do, Michelle! Bulbul...how did you get him to 'talk' to you?

    The birds here are so afraid of people...I don't blame them, little boys catch them, put them in cages...also, kill them to roast them, eat them...not that the boys are hungry, it's just a little boys thing to do.

    Funny, my mum and I were talking about birds the other day...I should write those tales and link to this post!

    Oh, I once read, in a very old Readers' Digest, that crows are extremely smart.

    ReplyDelete
  9. G~G

    The bulbul, she does figured me out. I think it was becuase I used to chase the neighbour's cat. That's when it started. Mrs Bulbul had silly babies and I'd be out in the yard chasing the cat. Then one day Mrs BB came and screamed at me, hanging on our back screen door... there was the cat in the garden and I went and chased it. After that she came to me with all her complaints ... There's a cat! There's no water! Where's the bread, huh??? She was a nag, I miss her.

    Some birds are definitely more characters than others. In Africa it was Mrs Bulbul. Here in Scotland it's been crows. our first house here there was a goofy crow who tripped and fell off things a lot. Now this new crow family. It's all in being patient and them watching you and figuring you out, rather than you figuring them out! ;-)

    ReplyDelete
  10. How cool is that! :D

    You're a regular Dr. Doolittle, Michelle.

    ReplyDelete