For the Love of Crows By Sheila T

I had never paid much attention to crows. I thought they were just noisy, obnoxious pests. At least, that’s how I saw them when I lived back in Ontario. But then we moved to “Supernatural” British Columbia in 2012, and a couple things changed my mind about these black rascals.

It was low tide and we were strolling along the beach out in front of the 486-ton white rock looking for interesting stones and shells. Although I heard no sound other than the light lapping of waves, I started to get an odd sense – as if we were being followed.

I stopped suddenly, turned around and saw one lone crow following in my footsteps as I picked up and discarded unwanted stones. My sudden stop and about-face caused this crow to stop suddenly as well, and he seemed to look around as if to ask, “What’s wrong – is someone following us?” It was a comical moment and I began to wonder if there was more to crows than I’d previously noticed.

Shortly after that day, we noticed a particular crow near our own home. He had a broken beak but it never seemed to prevent him from hunting for food and having success. We named him “Brokebeak” and began throwing a few peanuts out for him and a couple of his pals.

About this time, we also embarked on an intensive walking program to both lose weight and get in better shape. Our walks would usually take us from our East Beach location heading west along the White Rock Beach promenade, all the way uphill on Oxford Street, then east on 16 Avenue into town where we would stop sometimes for a cold drink before continuing the trek back home.

What we noticed when we reached the alley leading to our home – and with still about one kilometre to go – was the sudden appearance of our new friends. I commented that they seemed to recognize us. Ric threw them some peanuts that he had in his pocket and they dove for them.

Yes, they had recognized us as we’ve since learned. They can recognize faces and they know people who are kind to crows and those who aren’t. While they can be both thieves and pranksters (more on that to follow), they also demonstrate a lot of intelligence.

They tend to follow us some distance when we go for walks – even as far as the White Rock pier or farther. Often Ric has gone out among the tidal pools at low tide with his tripod and camera, and our feathered friends will show up, patiently waiting for treats to follow after he takes his pictures.

cool-photographer

Our crow pals also seem to watch the house, and when they spot our car pulling out, they swoop in and fly along beside the car to get our attention. They’ll often fly along side until they get their peanut rations. And they also watch for us to return home. But we have one rule: if they’re noisy, they get no reward. Only quiet birds get treats.

Edgar Allen Crow - Approved Recipes to Feed Crows

NOTE: Humans will enjoy these as long you do not add any bugs or roadkill to these recipes.

We don’t expect everyone to share our love of crows, but there’s no denying their intelligence and cleverness. While that might not encourage affection, it should at least afford them a bit of respect.

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