Thursday, October 30, 2008

Crow Sentinel Eating Part 2, More Spaghetti "Cooking", and Two New Creatures

While the first Crow has been again "cooking" spaghetti, this second Crow has been the sentinel. Spaghetti Crow leaves her tree, stops at this Crow's tree, there is vocalizing, and then she flies off to the NE.

Suddenly he turns and stares straight at me. Did she tell him to watch out for me?

He looks east.

Then quickly to the west.

And now north, with some vocalization. Then he begins to climb the tree which is unusual. He hops from branch to branch going ever higher. This is unusual so I don't distract myself with photography but rather just watch.

He gets to a multi-crotch of twigs and lifts out either a green tomato or a green apple. He then, picks it up, walks a few steps, changing its position, and puts it behind a wider branch. It's a green tomato.

He seems to be eating it though his head and the food, common in Crows, is kept hidden from any known viewers--and me in particular.

Look carefully for the pale greenish-yellow item, three quarters of the way down the photo, and slightly left of center. That's the green tomato he's been eating.

Does he see something or did he drop his tomato?

He turns.

And once again he stares at me.

And then he flies off.
I go out to check the bath and indeed there is once again spaghetti in it. But only this one strand, which is far less than the crow originally had in the bowl. Who took it out and when? Did the sentinel do it while I was watching her in the Maple? I don't think so. He was dealing with the green tomato. Did she do it under my nose while I was watching the sentinel and his vegetable? Unlikely. A quick snatch later while I wasn't looking? It wouldn't be the first time.
I decide to get some more left-over spaghetti from the refrigerator and place it on the goodie stump in order to let it dry overnight. Then perhaps I can actually get a good photo of a Crow placing the dry spaghetti into the bath.
Mr. Downy Woodpecker makes another visit to the suet. It's getting dark, and the next time I walk past the glass, I see something black out of the corner of my eye on top of the goodie stump. Drat! Are the Crows getting the pasta before it dries? I turn for a better look.
No, the Crows aren't getting it early. The stray cat that I first saw the day before yesterday is checking it out.
And eating it, as it turns out.
It's hard doing experiments outside the lab. You just never know what new variable is going to show up.
Kitty finishes the pasta except a few bits that fall into the cracks. Okay, I'm going to have to lure kitty into the house. It will take a few weeks, but I've done it before.
He is extremely hungry, obviously. It's going to start getting very cold so life will be miserable for him. And besides all that-- a hungry stray cat is murder on the songbird population.
And lets not forget it's the time of year in Wisconsin when mice try to come into the house to overwinter. Kitty could help me out with that.
I won't use poison or traps. Nature's way is the best--and the easiest. It works while one sleeps. And any self respecting mouse will smell a cat in the house and be much less likely to come in. If mouse comes in then it's his own look-out.
I go into the garage and dig up the box of cat chow that I saw in there. I get a bowl, put some in, sit it just beyond the back step, then scatter it around the feeding area. I shake the box-rattle, rattle. Kitty looks up. Kitty seems to know the sound of cat chow. He hasn't always been a stray then. Excellent. He'll eventually come round once he's in the house, most likely.
But the best laid plans, and all that...

During the night, I flip on the outside light. It's an opossum eating the chow meant for the cat. (What did I say about variables? Geez. I've always lured cats in cities where there aren't any possums to steal the chow.)
This definitely isn't Fluffy. This possum is only a half to a third the size of Fluffy, much younger looking, and far more sleek.
I'm betting my buddy Sleek here is going to eat every last bite of cat chow. My thought of taking a new tack and possibly using a live trap to catch kitty as it would be much faster is out. No doubt I'd just end up catching the possum.
Looks like I'll have to use the box and stick method so I know what I'm catching even though it's far more time consuming.
The moral? Sometimes the right way isn't the easiest way.
Donegal Browne

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