Thursday, May 21, 2009
Anecdotal Crow (with Butterfly)
(photo, Janis Ringuette)
My big black cat had brought a fledgling crow
into my bedroom early one morning, all panic
(on the crow's part) and pride (not me!).
Cats insert their fangs into a potential meal
just enough to disable them, so that there still
remains some flapability in the bird, some
feline entertainment. But I was to have none
of that: I quickly removed the baby crow
from the much dismayed Tip, and, being
somewhat of a mother-bird myself, fixed up
a box with fresh grasses, where I placed
the injured bird. Silly, I know.
My boys were perhaps 7 and 9, and they
hovered nearly as much as I did. Our little crow
occasionally squawked, bewildered.
Later on, after dinner, I placed the box on the
flat roof of my garage, and until darkness fell,
an adult crow stood sentry, pacing back and forth
along the roof-edge. Of course, by morning,
the baby was dead.
The next winter, I was up early on a Sunday morning,
enjoying the quiet with the newspaper and coffee.
Then I heard an irregular tick tick coming from
the front of the house. I stopped and listened; it stopped
and then started again. Something was hitting
my front windows: was there someone on the sidewalk
tossing bits of gravel at my house?
When I went to the front door (a big old-fashioned
door that was mostly glass), I saw my big old black
cat Tip leaning against the door as if he could make
it open if only he could press hard enough. What the --?
And then I heard it again, tick. And I saw a fir cone
bounce off the window: up in the Douglas fir
was a crow, picking cones with his/her beak, and
lobbing them at my cat.
Of course, I was amazed. Did this crow remember
that this cat murdered it's baby? Possibly. Likely.
Crows are known to "use" objects.
Crows are crafty, and wily.
When I opened the door, Tip varoomed into the house,
safe at last. And after that, I noticed that the local
crows dive-bombed him whenever he was outside.
Old Tip's hunting days are now long over. He went
through a phase of hunting Western Tiger Swallowtail
butterflies -- an odd sight, as he'd grasp his prey right
in the center, so that the wings fanned out on either side
of his mouth. Against the black fur it was a startling sight.