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Posts Tagged ‘crow’

Crow Feathers

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I moved the concrete bird bath from the front yard to the back yard last fall. I was tired of the crows using it as a place to rinse their food: fried chicken left-overs, hamburger buns, dog poop, hatchling birds, half-eaten worms. It was a daily battle: spray out the bowl, refill with fresh water, and watch as the crows returned to place some treasure in the water to soften. <Sigh>

We feed the bird out front: the old lodge pole pine that came with the house has a long, sturdy, limb from which to hang a large feeder full of black-oil sunflower seeds, convenient nails in the trunk from which to hang suet feeders, all within the easy view of the dining room picture window. I’ve taken countless photos of birds and squirrels through the glass over the years, and the bird bath could be set just atop the retaining wall, within view of the window also.

The lodge pole has its own story: it has been slowly dying over the span of our 15 years in this house. Two Springs ago, the Arbor Society stopped by to offer us information on planting a new tree (so poor did our pine look, then!). The woman actually suggested a cedar (one of those nasty things you cannot see under or through) to replace the open branches of the lodge pole. I told her, as nicely as possible, that we wouldn’t soon be replacing “Westley”.

“Westley?” she wondered.

“Yes,” I said. “It’s only ‘mostly dead’.”

Sadly, two years later, the joke is on us: no Miracle Max came through for Westley, and the lodge pole is quite dead. What we will replace it with that is both tall and sturdy enough to invite our birds to continue to come here is, as yet, undetermined.

Meanwhile, I had to move the bird bath to the back yard where we spend much of the summer months. Last year, we still had two very large bird dogs that patrolled the perimeter of the fenced-in back. Their presence had a two-fold effect on the bird-bath: no crows, and fewer small birds daring to take the plunge. They’d stop and sneak a drink, but no bird let down its guard to bathe while we were in the yard with the dogs.

Fate, and age, deprived us of those dogs last summer. The back yard is unpatrolled, and the wee birds are braver. The hummingbirds come closer, the wrens nested in the garage, the towhees are attempting a nest in the yard (my dog disturbed their previous attempt, some four years ago), and the bird bath has been a hub for evening ablutions by robin and towhee.

The crows have been watching from their perches top the tall Doug firs that surround us. The crows have sneaked into the yard, testing to see if the big grey dog will come charging and barking, as usual. The crows have perched atop the roof peak and cocked their curious eyes at us as we sit around our little fire pit.

The crows have started washing their food in the bird bath.

It started with half a worm floating in the bottom of the bowl. The next day, the water was soiled and gray, and my husband cleaned it. Yet another morning, and half a worm floated there.

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I flipped the frame of an old hanging basket over the bird bath.

Fortunately, it has been cooler, and threatening rain (even raining, at times). My wicked crow-deterrent plan is to eventually only do this on evenings or days when we will not be out in the yard, or at least in and out of the house. The framework will be removed when the bath can be guarded.

I hope it will work. So far, it has managed to keep the crows out, but it is also preventing all other birds from using the bird bath.

None of the birds have expressed interest in my other bird baths for bathing (or food washing).

I don’t know if it is the slick feeling of the porcelain bowls or the placement of the rocks that keep the birds out of these. (The rocks are there for the bees to climb up on, and therefore escape drowning. The bees cannot find footing on the porcelain and drown; they can easily get out of the concrete bath with its rough-textured bowl. I thought the rocks would help this year – I hate drowning wasps, bees, and other innocent insects.)

Much as I love crows – and crows love me – I cannot have them washing their food in water that others use for cleansing…specially if that food is sometimes the nestlings of the other birds. Wish me luck.

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Warning: Gross Factor

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This. I came home to this. Bread floating in the bird feeder, murky water, and a chicken bone with the marrow pecked out.

Pretty darn sure that wasn’t a raccoon’s work. Not that we don’t have raccoons, but…

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This. The culprit. But this is an After photo. I didn’t see it bring the chicken sandwich in. I just cleaned up after it.

And a good thing I did, too.

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Mr. Spotted Towhee was waiting for a clean bath.

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Mr. Towhee apparently walks on water.

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He also falls sideways into the water. He was sober.

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He got very, very wet.

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Then the crow came back with more food to wash.

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I get the “why” when the crow is washing off undigested almonds it found inside a dog turd.

But if it’s going to carry the dog turd that far… couldn’t it just eat it out of my sight? Leave the bird bath for other birds?

And what was it with the chicken bone and the bread?

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Do crows drool?

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This has nothing to do with the post, I just thought it was a funny photo of a crow’s – well, er, um – bum.

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