I’ve found myself feeding a lot of crows, lately. I think it’s the suet attracting them — the suet I put out for the flickers. I’ve tried every flavour under the sun; they don’t care. Peanut butter, pepper, mealworm, very-berry; crows like it all. Crows and finches. Crows, finches, and that one song sparrow. And gulls. Let’s not forget the gulls. I don’t think the flickers have had a single bite.
Don’t get me wrong: I’ve nothing against crows. They’re loud and clownish, fun to watch. They land on each other, and pull seagulls’ tails. They dig up my weeds, and sit in my rosemary. (I must warn Mother about that, next time she visits. She likes to eat that rosemary. Can’t have her eating crow rosemary. It’ll be covered in mites and bird grease, and god-wot-all-what.)
There are just a few things I wish the crows wouldn’t do:
* Bring me presents. See, a crow’s idea of a nice gift doesn’t quite align with mine. So far, I’ve been given a mouse leg, a clam shell with half a clam still in it, and a cracked bone, with most of the marrow eaten away. These are not nice gifts. I do not want them. I flick them off my balcony, for my ground-level neighbours to discover. (Ground-level neighbours, if you’re reading, I’m kidding.)
* Knock on my window. Seriously, that creeps the bejesus out of me. Mother’s got the same problem with squirrels: they’ve figured out where the food comes from, and if there isn’t any on offer, they’ll come and stare in the window till they’re fed. Only, the crows take it one step further, and tap-tap-tap with their beaks on the glass — brrrr! Ever woken up in the grey of dawn, to hear this unearthly tapping at your window — your fifth-floor window, might I add? — tap, tap, tap, like old dry bones? I thought Death himself was calling on me.
* Disturb my stones. I’ve got some decorative stones in my planter, right next to the birdfeeder. They were there when I moved in. They don’t belong to me. I’d probably get in trouble, if they disappeared. But when the crows come round and find the feeder empty, they play with the stones, instead. They drop them in the feeder. They drop them on my chair. And worst of all, they drop them over the side of the balcony. I have to walk all the way round the block, all the way up the stairs, and all the way across the courtyard, to get them back. I’m not even supposed to be in the courtyard. It’s right there in my lease: no messing about in the courtyard. Maybe I should bring the stones inside — put them in a bag, stick them under the sink…what a pain.
That’s about it, really. Three simple rules. If only I could communicate with them, somehow, indicate that these things are unpleasant, unwanted….