Monday, April 09, 2007

Egg Hunt Predation

The day being Easter, I was out in the backyard helping the Easter Bunny hide eggs for the big hunt. Everything hidden, both the boiled dyed eggs and the plastic candy filled numbers all snug in the hiding places, I went in to round up the huntees in the house.

Now as there was to be a hunt in the park across the way as well, I was not only hunting the huntees I was also keeping an eye on the backyard in case some of the park hunters bled across.

When suddenly, there was a Crow standing in the yard. Gadzooks, I'd been attempting to get them to stand in the yard long enough for a photo for weeks. Wait just one minute. What is that Crow pecking at in the grass and whoosh, he's off carrying a yellow blob! That crow just stole a hard boiled egg and I hadn't been in the house but a minute or two.

Had he been watching me hide the eggs? Did he recognize it as an egg or did he have to taste it? Was this bird an old hand from past Easter's and knew immediately what was what? It certainly hadn't taken him long to peck a beak hold and take off with it.

Another round of the indoors to make sure everyone had found their basket and WHAT NOW? There's a long haired off white cat sitting in front of the goodie stump, the place I put crow edibles in an attempt to detain them long enough to photograph. And the kitty is eating something. Crunch, crunch . It better not be a song bird. I grab the binoculars. Well, well, kitty is having a stiff pork chop meant for the crows.

"COME ON, GUYS!" If the huntees don't get it together soon, there won't be a whole lot to hunt. Okay, they were unlikely to put the stiff pork chop in their baskets, but it's the principle involved here.

Finally all are assembled, there's a rush through the door and the hunt is on. The competition is cutthroat. Ever since many a long year ago when my daughter Sam's older half sister massacred her older half brother in egg count on a hunt during a snow storm, Corinna followed the footprints in the snow to the eggs while Christopher didn't catch on, the yearly Easter Egg Hunt egg count has taken on serious significance. The Hunt finished and the count begun in the kitchen, Sam noticed that what she'd taken for a broken plastic egg that had spewed it's candy coated Mini Kisses all over the ground during the hunt, didn't look broken at all. It looked gnawed.

On closer examination, yes, definitely gnawed. In those few unattended minutes, a squirrel had sunk his teeth into it and gnawed the tip off. Talk about vigilant wildlife.

And though there were many unanswered questions regarding the Crow's expertise and behavior with eggs. We did learn an important behavioral fact about squirrels or at least one squirrel.

He didn't like candy coated Mini-Kisses at all.

Donegal Browne

1 comment:

Donegal Browne said...

My apologies to the Sticklers out there. I forget to mention that the reason we were quite sure it was a squirrel that chewed open the plastic egg was because one of the jagged edges had caught and retained a tiny tuft of squirrel fur.