Saturday, November 24, 2007


This squirrel's winter fat storage has rolled forward almost engulfing her ears as she snacks on a cucumber. I'm glad she's going for some vegetables as opposed to the straight sunflower seed diet.

In the meantime, One Eye is sticking with the straight sunflower seed diet. This is really the first good look I've had of his injury though it's a year old. Usually I've no more than a brief glance, as he keeps his good eye in my direction just in case I'm up to something. I'd not seen the healed rake above the eye before. Could this have been caused by an ineffective grab by a Red-tail?

Whatever the case, One Eye does just fine. He's remarkably chubby and if bothered makes a fine display by biting the picnic table. It works everytime.

I go to another room and when I return I'm startled, by a Crow who has walked up to the feeding area, highly unusual for them to be that near the house on the ground and I startle her as much as she has startled me. She takes off in a rush of feathers, cawing, without getting any food. The sound fades into the distance. I decide to throw some peanuts to the squirrels. They're just wasting away, after all.

A few minutes later I see that the Crow has returned. She's in the Maple closest to the house and when I sneak the camera under the curtain she peers at me above her obscuring branch.

She turns her back and looks as if she's going to take off again but decides better of it. She must be very hungry to stay. Usually after one look the Crow or Crows will disappear for hours and then make a check later to see if the coast is clear. Not this one, she's sticking.

She turns back to the yard. What is she looking at? I switch to the patio door and peek out. She's watching the squirrels taking off across the yard with peanuts.

I go back to the other window, she's crouched looking like she may try a quite fly-by of the feeding area.

Either she sees me or something else and does an about face.

She's leaning in. Will she go this time?

Nope. I accidentally tink the camera against the window and she looks.

One second she's just perched watching and the next she's taken a dive into the yard.

Oh! She's made a dive at the squirrel who has leapt into the air, twisted and landed running towards another of the Maples. Crow is looking at the ground. I'm assuming she is looking for the food Squirrel was carrying .

I push the shutter again. Blast! The flash went off inadvertently. She looks over and then takes to the air towards the park. Again without garnering any food. In moments the squirrel will be back chowing down and filling up some more fat cells. But the Crow so far has gotten nothing. I wonder about her as she is alone. Usually Crows here forage with at least one other Crow. Raiding parties go in threes. And currently they've been migrating through in very large groups. The night before I saw at least 75 Crows going into roost in trees near the old college buildings. Has something happened to the rest of her extended family?
When I catch sight of her again. She has found a wrapper of some kind and is checking it for possible calories. It looks like she may be using an appendage to help her beak manipulate the wrapper. I didn't know Crows did that parrot-kind of move. Actually I can't figure out from the photo what is happening there because it looks as if she has two legs pointing to the ground and something else propping up the wrapper.
It rather reminds me of the illustrations of the Owl in Beatrix Potter's Squirrel Nutkin. When the Owl sits down to eat, suddenly another appendage appears from under his wing with which he brings his food to his beak.
The wrapper doesn't look to have been fruitful in the food area.

She drops it and begins to walk a foraging pattern. She walks back and forth over an area, scanning.

And then walks up and down the same area. She doesn't mean to miss the least scrap.

Crow makes for a spot. It comes to nothing.

She looks up into a tree and scans the branches.

She turns, pauses, and then begins walking rapidly.

Did she get a bite?

The wind blows and she continues to scan the park for food. I decide to close the curtains. Perhaps then she will return and have a chance at a good meal. Perhaps even, she will make the Crow food call and other Crows, perhaps even others she doesn't know will heed it and she will make some new friends.
Donegal Browne

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