Yesterday our crow family did something really strange and rather interesting. They also "talked" again and this time I was able to get a closer look at my conversation partner - it's definitely Mr crow. For those who haven't been following - our area of farmland and wilderness is claimed by a crow mixed couple. Mr crow is a sleek glossy carrion crow and his wife is a hooded crow, wearing a very smart charcoal waistcoat. :-)
I've been feeding them left overs and scraps for almost a year now and they've slowly become more tame. It's been slow because these are farm crows and used to being chased away. Last year they had one chick and their "teenager" still lives with them - kid crow. ;-) They're a very close family, sharing together, chatting to each other. Kid crow sometimes wanders off alone, but then Mom goes after the kid, yelling and scolding. She's still not happy letting her chick wander off, even though kid crow is adult sized and over eight months old at this stage.
Every time I feed them I make the same noise, to bring them over. I "click" like a rider does to a horse. Recently I heard one of the crows reply with a "CLACK CLACK" sound when I clicked. Since then they've been quiet again, but yesterday it happened again. I went out to throw them some stale bread and they flew closer. Close enough that I can now report it is Mr Crow that CLACKS. He has a very fine deep voice. He sounds exactly like someone hitting a post with a hammer.
Both the crows and I had to wait as there were dozens of gulls flying over. These gull are bigger than the crows and more aggressive so I try to wait till they're not around before throwing out food or I throw some over the wall for the crows and then scatter more in the yard for the gulls. It doesn't always work, but at least it gives the crows more of a chance to dash in and grab bread. Yesterday the gulls were simply too many and too hostile. I tried yelling and waving my arms at them (must have looked demented, come to think of it), but they wouldn't let the crows near. Eventually both the crows and I gave up and let the gulls have the bread.
Later, I was upstairs pottering on the computer when I heard loud gull cries. I thought they might be on the roof and went over to the window (upstairs is in the loft/roof space and the windows open onto the roof). The gulls were flying over the house and I watched them, thinking anti-gull thoughts because they are so noisy and anti-social. I was thinking "I wish I was a HUGE crow, then I'd fly out there and chase you all off!" when a shadow caught my attention. Mr and Mrs crow had come over and were flying slow and low between me and the gulls!
It was so strange and rather nice. Were they simply protecting their food source from the gulls or am I now an honorary crow family member? Kind of... Aunty crow? Whatever the case, it felt very nice to have them come over and support me in feathered friendship. :-)