Ok, it was only a baby field mouse. But it’s still a life and I saved it from a crow.
I’ve neither a great affinity for mice nor necessarily an aversion to crows although I did have a pet white rat with only one eye when I was in grade school and I very much was on the edge of my seat watching Alfred Hitchcock’s “The Birds.” So maybe between the two then I’ll admit I’ve a hankering – albeit slight – for the rodent family.
No, upon hindsight, I take that back. Crows and I do not get along at all. When we bought our current home it had not been lived in for seven years. Not by people anyway. Crows lived there though. And they were not happy about us, the new residents. My place of employment was close enough that I could walk to work but for the first week or so I had to carry a broom to beat away, seriously, the crows which took significant umbrage every time I made an appearance.
I thus take issue with carrion crows being distinguished for their “highly intelligent – among the most intelligent of all animals” behavioral-isms. Belligerents if you ask me.
You’ve got to give them this though. Crows have been observed “to drop nuts from heights on to a hard road in the hope of cracking it. Some nuts are particularly tough, so the crows drop the nuts among the traffic. That leaves the problem of eating the bits without getting run over, so some birds wait by pedestrian crossings and collect the cracked nuts when the lights turn red.”
This day of the rodent-vs.-ravager however was mine to see red.
Factoring in my experience with the movie “The Birds”; and my own reenactment of the movie the day we moved in and the day the crows moved out; and add to that the fact that Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Raven” has this crow cackling “Nevermore” every time the poor lost lover of his beloved Lenore asks whether he’ll ever love again, this day I sided with the fuzzy little fellow which was at a distinct disadvantage when I happened on the scene.
Cowering in the middle of the parking lot, his tiny round ears twitching nervously, Mouse Jr. might have scampered somewhere, anywhere, except for the scavenger from the sky which hopped this way and then that cutting off all avenues of escape meanwhile pecking the poor thing at every turn.
That was distinctly unfair.
Even as our nine-and-ten-year-old baseball team does not take unfair advantage of an opponent by unnecessarily running up the score – we steal bases only to ensure we have an adequate cushion for when the end of the game approaches – crows should not pick on defenseless mice.
But this one was.
I sat in my truck and watched what most surely would have been the death throes of what I suppose is a most natural occurrence in the predatory world. Eagles plunder the nests of crows; crows in turn dive bomb eagles; big fish eat little fish, it’s Darwin’s survival of the fittest.
Speaking of evolution, humans, one would think, should be by now several missing links removed up the food-chain. But to see the dog-eat-dog behavior of some of our two-legged relatives is to wonder: where did the days of saving the littlest, most defenseless, among us go?
One little mouse is at least thankful (are mice thankful?) to have been deposited in the safety of all the ground-cover ivy, there perhaps to be reunited with its family, obscured as it now was from view from the disgruntled (are crows disgruntled?) carrion crow.