I remember a long time ago, I got a book from the Audubon Society about birds when I was in grade school. For some reason birds and I really took. I really liked reading about them and looking at all the different species. I took it the next step by trying to identify all the birds we had locally in my town of Willamette, Oregon. I got pretty good at it too. I was able to identify gold finches, wrens, and all the birds now that I don’t remember any more! Ha! Well, now I have moved up into the mountains near Mt. Hood. We have a few different types of birds up here mainly raptors. I don’t see many red-tailed hawks up here but there’s another species that slips my memory at the present.
It’s also heartening to see these birds as tame s they are. Not so as you can walk up to them, but they will sit on top of a telephone pole and watch you walk up to the base of it without flying off. I guess this is because we don’t have any morons shooting at them up here.
I also like crows. Yes, crows. They are intelligent, pretty and comical. They are the good time crew of the bird families. Ravens are my all time favorite bird, but alas we don’t have any on this side of the mountain. Ravens are quite different from crows. Larger physically, wider wing spans. The entire root chord of the wings are thicker on ravens. Ravens have thicker and longer beaks than crows. They also have a curious set of feathers that join the beak with the side of the head. I don’t know what this is all about either. The reason I know these things is because I used to have a pet raven. He was a marvelous bird and smart beyond all measure. Suffice to say I had to get rid of him because some short thinking neighbors didn’t think it was proper for me to have a raven in town. I’d love to have one up here, but I’ve almost done the same thing. Indeed, I have a regular crow airforce that taxi and do touch and goes in my lawn. I decided to start feeding them. So I put out a heaping bowl of dry cat food. They love it. I’ll have to research their diet a bit and see if cat food is not good for them. I have anywhere from 4 to 6 and sometimes even 8 crows strutting and hopping around in my yard much to my delight. They are so much fun to watch. Natural avian comedians too. I have lots of pictures of them. They are pretty shy however and will fly off at the first sign of either me or my dog. They can even catch sight of my movements thru the window in my house. I hope someday they will calm down a little bit around me at least. I’d like nothing better than to hand feed them as I used to do with my raven. I doubt that will happen but one can hope.
I was watching some interesting interactions between the Crows and the Starlings. I’ll admit I’m not much of a Starling fan. They are messy birds and seem to delight in messing on anything they are perched on or fly over. There were about half a dozen starlings running into each other at the Crow’s feed dish. The Crows were nonchalantly watching them atop of a light pole, and another big Crow was sitting atop my power pole, looking straight down on these dumpy ding bats knocking food out of the bowl. He swooped down towards the bowl and the Starlings were not having any part of him so they all flew off like overweight balloons with wings back into the woods around my house. Then the rest of the Crow Airforce came down from the light pole and hopped around the base of the stool that supports their food dish. The clumsy-assed Starlings naturally knocked a percentage of food out of the bowl and down onto the ground. The Crows were cleaning that up and I think they were also laughing about running the Starlings off. They sure seemed to be in a good mood. It looked to me like a couple of them were smiling. Yeah I know birds can’t smile but I got the distinct impression they were pleased with themselves. Crows and Ravens are like that you know. They like who they are and will tell you too.Racous birds these dark avians but then that’s ok I find them amusing. I have also found them no trouble what-so-ever. Maybe if I were growing a garden they might get in there and help themselves to some berries maybe? Hell I don’t know, I know my Raven liked all sorts of berries. But my Crows are just fine. They make no messes around my house, they just mind their own business and keep the Starlings in line. That makes them my friends if nothing else!
Crows and Ravens are supposed to have some sort of magical connotations to them I understand. That’s fine I kinda like all that dark sort of stuff anyway. Lord knows I’ve written enough poetry in that venue anyway.
I was watching one female today, at least I think it was. She was hunting for worms. Crows hunt worms just like Robins do. They walk along and listen. It amazes me that a bird can hear a worm crawling along in the ground! I didn’t think their hearing was that acute but it must be. Anyway she was walking along under my maples and some insect must have flown over her, but she didn’t miss it and spun her head up and backward and she must have caught the insect because she seemed to be grinding him up. Scratch up another point in the Crows favor, getting rid of bugs. We have had so much rain this winter and into the summer that the mosquitos are terrible up here. So my avian friends can gobble up all the skeeters they want and any other cheesy bugs in the process.
I had two Stellar Jays visit the feed dish today too. Seems this is more of a communal bird feeder than anything. I dig the blue jays too. They are also members of the Crow family. Lots of folks don’t know that but they are. The Jays up here are aggressive and not afraid of the cat from hell that lurks on the back porch. My cat reminds me of some of the monsters from HP Lovecraft’s novels. You know, The Old Ones? Strange names for these creatures, there’s Nyarlathotep, the crawling chaos, Shub Niggurath, Yog Sototh to name a few. My cat is probably a cross between Nyarlathotep, and Yog Sototh. She is the worst looking thing you can imagine, and won’t clean herself up. I’ve tried to do that for her but it’s a waste of time. So I’ve given up. The Jays know she’s no threat to them. I saw one the other day eating out of her bowl and she was only about 4 feet from him. How the birds know this is beyond me. Just more of a wonderment if you look hard enough.
I’m glad I don’t have any idiot kids with pellet guns up here deciding that they should be the great white hunters and shoot up my birds. I’d have to take their guns away from them and make fashionable head-gear for them out of their guns. That’s ok too because they couldn’t file a complaint with the police about me because they couldn’t write their own names on the police department forms, thanks to their 21 century educations.
I installed a humming-bird feeder on the corner of my porch roof the other day. I was wondering how long it would take the hummers to find the feeder. I saw a humming-bird using it today! That’s cool, I’m looking forward to taking some pictures of those little guys. I guess when the word gets out in Hummerville that Dave’s Hummingbird Restaurant is open for business, I’ll probably be seeing more of them. I hope so. I really like birds. Can ya tell?