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“The Crows and I” (August 2023)

A “short” crow update today. I’ll try to do more short ones in the future rather than a giant one like the last time.

If you missed that one, it’s there:

“The Crows and I” – part three (April- July 2023)

August has been pretty hot. No crazy temperatures like in so many other parts of the world (well, we had 38°C twice, that’s the hottest temperature since I’ve started living in Japan), but hot day after hot day constantly for weeks (between 33 and 35 during the day, nothing below 27 at night). As a consequence, I haven’t spent much time outside, or only after sunset, when the crows are sleeping. And since Junior has left, they don’t sleep in the park anymore.
(Actually, as I typed this, I heard some crows cawing, I peeked through the window and saw a bunch of them flying to the hill nearby where most of the crows of the city sleep. I’ll tell you more about their sleeping habits one day, but it’s probably better documented somewhere else online.)

As a result, I rarely see the crows these days. I do leave a bowl of water and peanuts in my yard every day, but they usually come when I’m away.

I saw them more during the typhoon (yes, we had a typhoon). The poor things stayed in the park, getting wet for most of it (I assume that it’s not safe to be on a tree). Interestingly, there were three crows, and I’m pretty sure the third one was Junior. Before the typhoon arrived, they even came to my neighbor’s roof (they hadn’t stood there since Junior left) for a short while, as if Junior came to say hello.

By the way, I post short updates and pictures of anecdotes like this one on Mastodon. It’s all there. I’ll probably post some on Threads and Bluesky eventually (if I keep on using them – by the way my thoughts about the state of social media can be read here)

Back to our crows.

This morning, I was out earlier than usual for a Sunday, and I didn’t have to go anywhere, so I just went to the park (I thought I heard them). They were standing on a roof not too far, and as soon as they saw me, they came over.

I like that feeling.

They came to eat their peanuts just like before. The feathers of the poor things are a big mess. It’s normal for the season, and all the crows around are in the same shape. They’ll get nice new feathers in the Fall.

a crow in a small park
Ms. Crow

 

a crow eating a peanut in a small park
Mr. Crow

 

It’s interesting how when it’s the two of them, Ms. Crow almost always comes first, but she still keeps her distance from me. Mr. Crow comes later and closer, but not too close.

I have to admit, that I’m a bit frustrated that after so many months, they still don’t come closer. I know patience is key when befriending crows, but I also feel that I made no progress in terms of “closeness” since last Spring. Not seeing them much at the moment doesn’t help. Maybe Fall and Winter will be a better time for that?

Anyway, today I tried to put the second serving of peanuts close to me (about two meters away, it worked with Mr. Crow once) and waited.

To make them feel more comfortable, I didn’t look at them, or at the peanuts (like most wild animals they can feel threatened when stared at in certain circumstances). I did film with my phone, while almost completely turning my back to them.

The video was not that interesting, so I deleted it, but then something funny happened:

Crows 2023 08 27 3

Mr. Crow (on the right) also turned his back on me and pretended to ignore me too!

(And Ms. Crow wasn’t too sure about what course of action to follow.)

As always, I don’t want to anthropomorphize them, but I swear sometimes their reactions feel similar to a human: “Oh, you don’t want to put these peanuts closer to me and you don’t want to look at me? Fine, I won’t get them and won’t look at you either.” It’s difficult not to anthropomorphize them when at the same time, they are so intelligent and social and are probably very capable of such behavior.

So, we both waited in that standoff for a little while, but I eventually gave up. I picked up the peanuts and threw them their way.


Another interesting thing happened a few days ago. As I said, I leave peanuts in my yard daily. I leave them on a small plastic plate – the kind you put under a plant pot.

A few days ago, returning home, the plate was gone. Just in case, I went to the park and lo and behold, the plate was in the park, pretty much on the spot where I took the previous picture. I’m not too sure what it meant. That they’d rather be given treats in the park? Maybe.


Oh, by the way, you know the crows in the park by the sea? I always assumed that they were younger and single crows hanging out there. Nope. It turns out they’re a couple too. Maybe that’s why I’ve only seen two of them for the past few months. The thing is that I found a nest in one of the trees recently, and it now all makes sense. Still, I’m sure that last winter, there were at least three or four crows hanging out and being rowdy like young adult crows there. Maybe a couple was formed and they kicked the other ones out of the territory?

In any case, it’s my whole understanding of the social dynamics of the neighborhood’s crows that I need to reassess.

Also, today, I walked by that park not once but twice, and both times the crows made their presence known to me (i.e. they wanted peanuts) and both times I had forgotten to bring peanuts with me. Sorry.

Note to self: always have peanuts in your pockets when you go for a walk in the neighborhood, all the crows here know me as the “peanut guy” now.

 

 

Alright, that’s all for today.

Stay tuned for more and in the meantime, why don’t you subscribe to the blog? (clicking on the logo below)

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