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How frustrating — I’ve seen the broken crow only once, today, and it was being chased round the garden and pecked by other crows, at the time. Poor thing looked dreadfully tired. It was flying with its beak open, but not making any noises. It was probably out of breath, from being chased so much. Eventually, they chased it out over the water, and I lost sight of it. I hope they didn’t catch and kill it. I hope it didn’t fall in the water and drown. I’d rather hoped its little crow friends would be feeding it, not bullying it. Wild rats do that, for each other — bring food, if one of them’s under the weather: wee pre-nibbled ratty care packages. Not the most delicious-sounding treat, I must say, but I’m sure the recipients are happy enough.

I tried rigging up a box trap, so I could grab the crow if it did turn up, but all I managed to catch was a rather irritated finch. (There wasn’t enough room to balance the box securely, and it dropped down at the first hint of a breeze. The finch happened to be dining, at the time.) So I let the finch go, and hid the box under the window, instead, so I can grab it up quickly if the crow comes back, and just…toss it over. Of course, I can’t imagine it’s too likely I’ll see that crow again. Its friends were really after it with a vengeance. Perhaps that’s their idea of mercy. And I suppose it would be quite merciful, if there weren’t other options — it’s a bloody nuisance, birds not understanding English. I mean, can you imagine how much easier birding would be, if you could say to them “Ey, you over there — yeah, you, with the striped head. Would you mind turning a bit to the side? It’s just, I can’t tell whether you’re a song sparrow or a savannah sparrow, from this angle. Ah, there we go. What a spanking yellow stripe you do have! Magic. All right, come on and have a treat. Got some seed for you; yes, I do.” Or if you had a camera along, you could tell them exactly how to pose, or explain what the shutter click is, so they wouldn’t find it startling. You could tell the gulls it’s fine if they use your feeder, as long as they shit off the side of the balcony, and leave at least half the seed for the other birds. You could tell pigeons you’re not going to hurt them, then have a nice pigeon pie. (Just kidding, with that last one.)

It’s terribly frustrating, having the means to solve a simple problem, and not being able to explain what must be done.

If that crow does make it back to my balcony, I’m going to try blinking my eyes at it, as I creep up on it with my box. I read somewhere that birds read a steady gaze as threatening, and that they blink at each other before doing social things. Maybe it’ll think I want to play, or eat suet with it, and not fly away. (A bit unlikely, but, hey, it’s worth a try!)

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