Thursday 12 March 2009

Feathered Friendship

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. :-)


  1. Hey, that's a really nice idea, actually: that now you're an honorary crow family member. :-))) After all, you do give them food! ;-D

  2. That is AWESOME!!!!! Crows are really smart, people don't realize. I look forward to more crow updates. I love crows.

    My hairdresser has a crow that taps on her sliding glass doors all the time. She calls him her boyfriend. He may disappear for awhile, but then he comes back, stands there at the doors, and just taps. So cute.

  3. I'd say you are talking to birds and really need to get out more, but secretly, I'm just jealous ;)

    The last place I rented had two Mourning Dove's that lived in the back yard. I miss seeing them when I'm on my way to word, or sitting out in the yard. I regret I didn't try talking to them now. Would have been fun to find out if they would try to talk back!


  4. Aunty Crow--that has a nice ring to it. :) If not an honorary family member, they at least recognize you as a friend to them. Sweet story, Michelle.

  5. Amel
    true! :-))

    That's a cute story. You reminded me... I once had a rooster propose to me (brought me nesting material) so it seems I have a weird way with birds? LOL

    Some birds never seem to connect, but others definitely do. I had other bird species in Africa that became aware of my "silly human" noises.

    Thanks. Doing this has triggered loads of older birdy stories. I'll have to post some of the funnier ones.

  6. Thanks for this sweet story, Michelle.

    Out here in Bangalore, the crows are getting aggressive (have been feeding them twice on some days) and they are out there demanding their pound of rice first thing in the morning.

    One guy is in the papaya tree of the neighbor's house cawing away by 7 AM. Hope the neighbors don't put a notice saying: Stop Feeding the Crows!

    Captcha: yonamber

  7. I think I shall call you Aunty Crow from now on :)

    I have a gang of crows who come around regularly in the high oak tree and tall poplars where they argue with the Acorn Woodpeckers every morning. But for whatever reason, they refuse to be lured down into the yard where a bounty of peanuts, corn and sunflower seeds awaits them. All the other birds I have around don't hesitate to dine on the smorgasbord but the crows are disdainful and take there leave after checking out the scene below. I love hearing about your family of crows.

  8. How odd, I remember replying to Shastri and yet it's not here... ?

    (once again) Our seagulls are the agressive ones here.

    Sorry I missed this, blogger isn't updating me on all replies for some reason!

    I chuckled at your story. I can just see your snooty crows. LOL Thanks for sharing. :-)



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