I Enjoy Feeding Crows...For the past several years, I've enjoyed feeding the crows that frequent my back yard. I live in a rural area, adjacent to a dairy farm, so particularly in winter there's a lot of open space (no crops). Winters can be tough here for wildlife...
The river valley where I live is a flyway for thousands of crows in the wintertime. As soon as the sky even hints of brightening with the dawn, the daily migration begins. Groups of 4 or 5 to 10 or 12 or more make their way up the valley, dispersing from massive roosts about 25 miles south of here (crows like to roost in massive flocks in winter.).And as the sun lowers in the west, the same multitude of birds make their way south again. It's really quite a sight. Particularly during cold snaps, I'll occasionally put out a chicken carcass left over from the previous night's dinner, or if I have a stale piece of bread, or something from the fridge that might be a bit past its prime, I'll wander out to the back yard, and look around to see if I'm being watched by a crow scout looking for a meal from a far-off tree, and scatter whatever it is I have over a small area. Without the edginess of cold, the scouts are often not easily seen or as intent. More temperate weather means the need of fuel for survival isn't as extreme.
Today it was a small bit of leftover chicken. Earlier in the day it was raining; snow is slowly disappearing and patches of bare ground are appearing all across the field behind the house. You can just about feel the land ready to explode back to life after months under snow. I didn't see any of my crow friends, but I put the chicken out anyway, and turned to go get my mail from the mailbox about 100 yards in the opposite direction.
No sooner had I gotten my mail that I saw a flash of black through the narrow line of sight along the driveway between my house and the trees opposite it into the back yard. I walked back to the house, at a steady pace without making it obvious that I was watching the opportunists gather their newfound meal. Two crows were on the ground maybe 25 yards or so from where I had scattered the small amount of meat, wings nervously flitting with curiosity. I came inside, and went to watch from a window.
Within seconds, three more crows alighted right in the area where I had scattered the discarded meat, and were quickly joined by the two others. Wasting no time, they feverishly gathered it in their beaks and flew off across the field, away from the watchful eye of both me and other crows who have come to know my back yard as a place to pick up an occasional meal.
Though I'm not eager to play the role of reliable provider for this lot of my feathered neighbors, I am well aware that every time I leave the house, I'm being watched. Most days I'll see at least one, sitting atop a nearby or far-off tree, waiting for an offering, or just pasing the time the way only a crow can. Crows can be masters of waiting. Most days all they get is a 'hello crow!' from me. Other days it's nice to know I'll have their help cleaning out my fridge...
VTMarkus 46-50, M 1 Response 1 Apr 5, 2011