Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Crows and Mulberries

Between the rain, coons, the opossum, crows, and other assorted critters; we don't have many mulberries left. I must confess to enjoying the visits from the crows.
Watching them come in to land on the tip, top, spindly branches of the tree, is an entertainment. The branches bend and waver under the weight of the large birds until you think the large birds will certainly fall. But those crows flutter and talk and they ride that branch while taking the fruits.

I want to share a little tale with you to explain my special affinity with the crow.

When I was very young my Dad brought home 3 baby crows for my two older siblings and I to raise. We fed them milk soaked bread first. We used toothpicks to get it in the gaping mouths. Then we added hamburger and slowly they ate mostly meat.
Then we started turning them loose. Two of them did quite well at learning to fly on their own. Mine, wouldn't you know, flew but didn't like it when he got to the top of the house. He squawked as only a crow can and I cried. My Dad got the ladder out; went up and rescued him. Well actually this only happened a couple of times. Dad finally refused to go get him. "He'll learn." And again as parents can be, Dad was right.

What great pets, if you can call them that. They hung around that whole year.
Those birds were smart,thinking, cons and to us clownish. They knew us* and would come down to talk and ride on our shoulders. Our 'babies" did steal too. They loved "shinies" so we knew where to look for toys and other little things that came up missing. They used the "rabbit hutch" home like a chicken going to roost every evening and as a storage facility. They also used the neighbor's clothesline as a perch. Not a great thing after they had been eating mulberries or other nicely colored fruits. Imagine the clean bright white sheets after visits from 3 large crows. It did cause a large problem, fight, with the neighbor.

We have a photo somewhere of my "baby" brother riding a "trike" with one of the crows riding the handlebars. Probably my lazy, spoiled, bird. (When I locate my copy, I will scan it in for your enjoyment.)

So now I watch the large, beautiful, black, birds and enjoy them. I really wish they would come in closer but country crows are not the same as city crows. They aren't as friendly with people in most instances-they don't have to be.

*Longer article on the study


  1. Having a pet crow sounds like fun. In the neighboring city they congregate and sometimes they cause problems. I remember going over to my bank one day and getting just a little nervous with all those crows watching me.

    I loved your story. Thank you for writing it.

  2. Hi Thomas,
    Did you think of "The Birds" movie.
    I always get tense when Tipi Hedren sits waiting outside the school and the crows are silently lighting on the "monkey bars" behind her.
    I found the link about the crows and the water tubes fun. If they had asked me I could have told them how smart the crows are.
    Thanks for commenting.

  3. Have you seen the movie "Vantage Point"?
    Here is an example of differences in perception and memory. One of my siblings wrote:

    "...you are wrong. That crow never learned to fly. We left the ladder
    against the house and when the others flew to the roof, he climbed the ladder.
    When they flew off, he ran to the edge of the roof and dropped like a rock. Then,
    he shook himself like he was irritated, and walked off."

  4. It finally did learn to fly and they did like the neighbors clothes line and that is why they were finally given away. We did have a glorious life then and were not aware of it. It just seemed normal to us.

  5. thanks to Anon for commenting.
    Hmmm. Must have been another Vantage Point.
    We certainly did have a great life in many ways.
    Living there had its down sides but we didn't know it then.

  6. Kanna: In my old house I had a big cherry tree and for a few years I fought the birds for the cherries, but I finally gave up. The birds were too persistent. I figured they needed them more than I needed them, so I just let that big old tree feed the birds. I would get a handful of really tasty cherries, but many, many pounds went to the birds. They loved.

    So now I buy my cherries at the fruit stand. They aren't as good as what comes fresh off a tree. Oh well.

    The poor birds have to scrounge. I go to the fruit stand and I can choose cherries, apricots, oranges of many varieties, apples of many varieties, pears, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, dragon fruit, star fruit, mangoes, etc. Poor crows. They scavenge. I have a pocketful of money and I buy fruit from around the world. Maybe it isn't as tasty as home grown, but I have lots and lots of choices.

  7. What a lovely story! Here in South Africa crows have spread into areas in which they are not endemic, and cause problems for bird populations that are. They are so effective at survival and compete so successfully for limited resources that they threaten local species.I have heard that they are decimating tortoise numbers too! They turn the little critters over and snack from the conveniantly shaped little dish!On the open road they always seem to be hanging about menacingly in groups. Still, you cant help but admire them for their resourcefulness and personality! Loved your story...every childs dream xxx elle

  8. RY,
    thanks for sharing.
    I used to try to watch to see where the crows nested here. (I wanted my son to get the thrill of raising one. We raised 3 baby rabbits, turtles, and hand raised a litter of kittens-the mother disappeared after leaving them in the garage.
    Then I realized these crows nest high in the oaks.
    So we just watch when they stop by.

  9. elle,
    Thanks to you for stopping by and for the comment. I do enjoy your blog.
    Crows are really problems in some areas here also. Many people do not like them at all.
    I wonder sometimes when we place "scarecrows" in our gardens. The crows don't mind them at all. Then we hang shiny things that move in the wind. Probably just gets the birds' attention. I can just see the crows stealing them.
    Their walk is great fun to observe also.
    Thanks again for the comment.