It’s been ages since I posted a crow report! There have been some changes.
For those who haven’t been reading along for the past few years – I’ve been doing my best to lure in and befriend the local murder of crows. After a couple years of this, they were FINALLY getting the message that I am a friend not a foe. I could go outside, whistle for them, and within ten-fifteen minutes they’d arrive and start cawing from the treetops to let me know. Once they arrived, I’d toss them several large handfuls of shelled peanuts then retreat inside while they enjoyed the snack. The goal is to not have to go back inside, but for them to trust me enough to let me stand there and watch.
Then, tragedy struck. A year ago this past summer, a dead bird appeared nearby in the yard of the empty house next door. READ “When Death Comes Cawing” HERE. After that I stopped seeing them; I didn’t even hear them! POOF!
In January of this year, what appeared to be an EPIC RETURN happened. READ “The Return” HERE.
This past summer something else began to ruffle their ebony feathers, ravens! Ravens have been rare around these parts for decades, but are slowly making a comeback. Breeding pairs are being spotted more and more frequently. I’d occasionally hear their distinct throaty croaking sounds in the distance to the northwest, but would never see them. A couple friends in nearby towns said they’d seen some. Here’s an article from five years ago about our local raven population. I’m sure it’s grown since then.
I had never seen a raven in the wild until this year and when I did, they were clearly in a sky battle with my beloved crows. Honestly, I wasn’t sure who to cheer for. I love my crows, but ravens, y’all! RAVENS!!! I stood fascinated, staring at the sky and their fancy swooping and dive-bombing each other and all that raucous cawing going on. The crows nested in the southwest and the ravens didn’t seem too keen on that. All summer I’ve done my best to keep whistling and putting out treats for the crows all while secretly hoping a couple of ravens would also show up. I’m so torn! The interaction has been slow at best. I think they were just too darn busy finding a new roost to nest in away from the ravens, but not too far away from familiar food sources, to bother with the scant peanuts I toss out.
This past week, however, more changes, and yesterday was epic! I gathered my offerings – the usual peanuts with a handful of leftover chicken wings from dinner the night before. The usual routine involves me stepping out on to the kitchen porch, whistling a few times, and waiting for a caw in reply, whistling again and going back inside. I won’t put any peanuts out until I actually see and know the crows are there – otherwise the darn blue jays take them all. It takes a while for the crows to come, but when they do they’ll sit in the Maple tree in the front yard and caw to let me know they’ve arrived.
Yesterday, I opened the kitchen door, whistled, and before I could even turn around, four crows came swooping in and perched in the tree on the other side of the yard, watching and waiting. Also, when I came out with their treats, they remained in the tree instead of flying away. I whistle while I do this so they associate the food with that sound. This morning – same thing. I’m calling that progress!
I’m super excited about these developments. Maybe this summer will finally see me able to remain outside and watch them eat and get some good pictures, too! As for the ravens – their still around, though I haven’t seen or heard them lately. For now, I’ll keep my focus on my crow buddies and smile knowing that maybe they really still do kinda like me.