Friday, May 6, 2011

Feed the Crows

This spring I have started a new venture. In addition to sweet little song birds, hummingbirds, and occasionally my own children, I have started to feed the crows.

Now wait! Don't call the neighbor cops on me just yet. My CCRs may say I can't raise chickens, but they say nothing on feeding any fowl that just happens to wander into my backyard, no matter how verminy they might think them. Yet, I suspect though that if folks saw crows the way I do they might not be so quick to rack that shotgun. Heck, they might get
so turned around I'd find myself getting trampled next time I tried to stock up on peanuts.

Consider the humble crow. We have a long history together. Going from multiple ancient mythologies, to the fables of Aesop, to the more modern wheat fields of Van Gogh, and the nightmares of Hitchcock these black birds have shadowed our dreams and our torments.

Today with the aid of science, the crow is showing herself in a whole new light. Not only do crows use tools, but crows have added themselves to the short list of creatures that make tools. They have even shown themselves capable of solving problems involving more than one step, something even some homo sapiens have been known to struggle with from time to time...yeah, I admit it! Also crows can live to about a decade (up to 30 in captivity). And...and they recognize individuals, so it you are nice to them, in time they may allow you to enter their special club! 'Course that also a warning to those who favor the dark side. Crows remember the folks who are mean to them. Feed the crows! And why not, crows are dinosaurs, or not, either way, they are smart, and darn cool.

Ok. So you are sold now. You are ready to invite these sleek black birds into your yard, and maybe your life. Maybe after a few years you'll even be ready to let them do your taxes. Well this is all you need to do. Start with peanuts. In the shell works great, unsalted is best. Crows prefer to eat from the ground, so just throw them around. First the bluejays will find them, and probably a squirrel or two, but within a few weeks the crows should have noticed the jays flying in and out, and they will come to check things out. Once you have their attention, and they are regular visitors to your yard, you can switch to dog food if you prefer not to feed the squirrel population as well. Today I have them coming comfortably to my back rail.

They really are marvelous birds, and if possible I'll try to teach them to work for the treats I give them. I'm sure they can fathom my taxes better than I can.

Still need convincing? This TED talk highlights just now teachable they are.

Crows can help us clean up this place!

P. S. Anyone want to wild release some chickens nearby?


  1. I think crows are super neat, too! I read somewhere that they are a rainbow of colours to eachother.

  2. I understand that crows also have separate calls for their community at large and then a different set of calls amongst their family group. I'd love it if I could learn more crow speak.