Crows think they are in charge of everything. They fly were they want; they rarely back down, and they carry a grudge.
Last year in May I started a drive-way repair program at our home. The plan was to touch-up and then resurface the asphalt driveway that nearly encircles our home. I cleaned out the area under the three-car carport including an old washtub my wife Peg used as a holder of potting soil for her plants. There was no soil left, but there were numerous screens, tiles, etc. filling the tub. I pulled the tub out and across the drive-way and left in on the grass until I was through with the project is September. Now it is May and the tub is still there.
Why is the tub there? Because it filled with water and the deer visiting our yard enjoyed the watering hole. In addition the crows think they own the tub and the water. Other birds use the tub as well, but the crows own the concession stand.
Here are some things to know about crows.
- They are bossy.
- They are brave and will even take on eagles when they invade crow air space.
- They are smart.
Some time ago looking down on our drive-way from our kitchen window, I kept wondering what the scattered white porcelain looking, shiny pieces were all over the asphalt. On a closer inspection of our drive-way my wife and I found they were broken snail shells. The crows would find snails (we’re just uphill from the shoreline along Ruston Way) and drop them from a height that broke them open. We have found empty walnut and filbert shells as well.
I moved the tub so I could watch the activity a bit better and have taken more notice of the crows. At first I thought they were bringing orange peels to the tub for cleaning and eating, but have since started wondering if perhaps, it’s not orange peels, but starfish.
I found a great piece on Pacific Northwest shoreline eating habits of gulls and crows – archive.westernfieldornithologists.org/archive/V13/13%20(1-4)%20p0001-p0012.pdf
It turns out the snail shells could actually be cockle shells as in the folk song “Molly Malone (Cockles & Mussels).” I had no idea we had local cockles. Cockle shells to me look more like scallops. Wikipedia says “A cockle is an edible, marine bivalve mollusk . . . True cockles live in sandy, sheltered beaches throughout the world.” The Suquamish and I’m guessing other Northwest Native American coastal tribes love cockles and clams.
It also turns out that gulls and crows like the same shoreline food. The only real difference seems to be that crows don’t like to wade in the water. Seagulls eat starfish (both orange and purple), so I’m willing to bet that crows eat starfish as well.
I tried to photograph crows returning to our watering tub. I would see a crows fly to the tub as I sat at my desk. In the two seconds it took to get up and open my slightly ajar door the crow would leave. Even though I have a glass storm door and stayed behind it, the crows somehow knew I was watching. I have seen a documentary on crows, so I know they recognize faces and if you do them wrong, they never forget who you are and try to get even.
Six or seven times I saw a crow at the tub. By the time I opened the door it was gone. I began to formulate idea on how to outsmart the crow, but each time I tried a different technique, the crow knew someone was stalking them . . . and it flew away. Soon I gave up and just sat at my computer. A few minutes later a crow came back and landed in the grass about forty feet away and then it hopped onto the driveway and walked straight towards me. It stopped about five feet from my desk window. He just looked at my window. After about ten seconds he was satisfied that I offered no threat and it turned around and walked away. I could have opened the door and confronted him, but I was afraid he might be carrying a gun.
The Cunning Old Crow
On the limb of an oak sat a cunning old crow,
And chatted away with glee,
As he saw the old farmer go out to sow,
And he cried, “It’s all for me!
“Look, look, how he scatters his seeds around;
How wonderfully kind to the poor!
If he’d empty it down in a pile on the ground,
I could find it much better, I’m sure!
“I’ve learned all the tricks of this wonderful man,
Who has such regard for the crow
That he lays out his grounds in a regular plan,
And covers his corn in a row.
“He must have a very great fancy for me;
He tries to entrap me enough,
But I measure his distance as well as he,
And when he comes near, I’m off.”
Read more Fascinating Facts About Crows Here – mentalfloss.com/article/504722/12-fascinating-facts-about-crows
The views expressed in this article are the writer’s own.