by Jackie Houchin
I began feeding the crows one morning when my Hubby told me that his Cheerios were too stale to eat. I carried the box outside and dumped about a half cup of the O’s in the middle of the street. A friend occasionally throws out stale crackers for birds, so perhaps a few would show up for the cereal.
Halfway to my front door, I turned to look. A half dozen jet black birds were enjoying breakfast, compliments of moi. I smiled, pleased
A few days later I threw out some stale bread crusts that I’d cut into tiny squares. (I’d hesitated only briefly as the thought of making croutons crossed my mind.) Too much trouble, and besides, maybe my new feathered friends would come again.
They did. Plus a few more.
I bought a cheap 3# bag of kitty kibble and began casting a handful or two out in the street each day. Soon I had eight or nine pecking away. Thinking they needed a bit of protein, I added a bag of raw, unsalted, shelled sunflower seeds to the next kibble bag. After a month there was a growing murder* of crows waiting patiently for my handout each morning between 6:30 and 7:00.
It was fun.
My actions were not altogether altruistic, however. I’m not a bird lover. I’d read in several articles that crows often show their gratitude by bringing small gifts for “their” humans. See what a young girl received from “her” crows here. They can also recognize faces (friendly or not) and react to them. For six scary things these cunning creatures can do, click here.
I had visions of coins, golden rings or pins, and yes, even a diamond tennis bracelet. HA! Okay, I did get a few Macadamia Nut shells, a small piece of ½ -inch plastic pipe, and – now this is pretty cool – a rose made out of a red pipe cleaner! But no gold and no diamonds.
Once, out of nowhere a flock of seagulls arrived and started eating, pushing the crows to the perimeter. (Seagulls are TWICE the size of crows! Seriously!) I marched out to my driveway and raised my hands to shoo them away. The sea birds flew off while the crows stayed, unafraid. Casually they walked back to eat what was left. Two came to within three feet of me and cocked their heads this way and that before going back to eat. A thank you? A closer look at a “friendly” face?
When OSH went out of business I picked up a 5# bag of wild bird seed at a good price and added that to the next two kibble bags. They really loved that… and told their friends.
Now I have twenty-four black birds each morning. And they are beginning to make a lot of noise if I’m late. A man down the street came out with hands on hips and frowned at me. Dog walkers give my house that “look” as their dogs pull on their leashes towards the kibble mix.
This has got to stop, I thought one morning. I will not feed them today. Maybe if I skip a few days, then a week they’ll stop coming.
The first day they were cool with that. Occasionally I do have to go away early before I can feed them. But the next day, they were pretty loud. They sit in my Magnolia tree, on the street lamp, and the rooftops of my and my neighbors’ houses. Some boldly strut on my lawn, close to the porch. When I walk into the street with the kibble others come cruising out of nowhere.
It’s beginning to feel a little creepy. I worry about stopping the food altogether. So far none have been aggressive, just noisy, but I’ve heard they can swoop and peck. Have a created a monster? Will I experience another kind of murder?
Oh dear! Excuse me, I have to go feed the crows now. I can count well over thirty of them through my window, all eyeing me as I look at them.
Yikes, the bag is getting nearly empty. I must go shopping today! What would happen if I ran out of kibble!!
Where do writers get their ideas?
From lots of places, including researching curious facts and from their own experiences. All it takes is a touch of imagination.
To read the “murder” mystery I wrote from my research and experience with these inky birds (and my own imagination), follow this link to my personal blog and the story titled, THE CROW: https://jackiehouchin2.wordpress.com/2018/09/25/the-crow/
*a flock of crows is called a “murder.”