Thursday, August 4, 2011

August 4: A Bird in the Hand Is Worth...

While working intensely at my desk this morning, focused, busy, intent on what I was doing, a flash of movement out the window caught my eye. I looked up and had to laugh out loud: two crows were precariously balanced on the slender branches of the nearest high bush blueberry. A third was perched on a nearby post, overseeing the antics. The two birds in the bush were doing their best to keep their balance while grabbing as many fat blueberries as they could. As close as they were in that tiny bush, they looked huge. I could see that the mantle of one of the birds had a brown cast to it, it was that near.

I've seen blue jays and catbirds tempted by those berries, but until yesterday, never a bird as large as a crow. Yesterday's crow simply snatched berries from the stable perch of the post at the end of the driveway. Today's two birds were a bit more ambitious, and acrobatic. It was truly entertaining to watch those ungainly crows clutching the twiggy branches for dear life while daintily plucking at the ripe berries.

A fourth crow flew toward them to join in the fun, but then the lookout bird cawed, and they all flew off up the driveway together. But it wasn't long before a couple of them returned. Then later I heard a racket of crows yelling frantically across the river at something, probably some kind of hawk or an unlucky roosting owl. That was apparently distracting enough that they didn't get back for more berries today. But I'll look for them tomorrow for more amusement.

Too much temptation:
two crows in a too-small bush
plucking ripe berries.

After first witnessing this entertaining activity outside my window, I called in my co-worker to see, but the birds were already in flight by the time he arrived. So he told me a story about how when he was five, playing with a friend at the playground, a crow flew up and landed on his shoulder. The two boys were thrilled, naturally, and he walked home with the crow still perched there. It stayed with him as they continued playing in the back yard, till at one point his mother looked out and noticed their avian companion. ("It followed us home, Mom. Can we keep it?") She realized that no wild bird would be this tame, so she called someone--who do you call when you find a tame crow?--and eventually tracked down the crow's owner. Despite it being a pet, there's still got to be something special about being picked out by a crow like that.

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