So a few months ago, I thought I should try to befriend the crows in my neighborhood. Well, the thought is even older, as you may remember from those posts: “The mystery on the roof” and “Don’t cut the string!” But it is only a few months ago that I finally decided to actually try.
I read a few things about how to proceed, I bought a few peanuts (the unsalted, untreated, still in-their-shell kind, you don’t want to poison the birds) and started the process.
The first days were the most difficult ones as you need to make sure the crow is around, sees you dropping the peanuts, and feels safe enough to go get them. After a few unsuccessful attempts, one day, I noticed the peanuts disappearing quickly after I left. Then, I saw the crow grab them, but only after I was very far, and so on. It lasted for a few weeks like this. I was not sure where this was going. However, I knew I was doing something right when I could see the crow appearing more and more, usually shortly after I pull my car into the street in the morning.
I documented the whole thing in my Mastodon account, I advise you to go check it out (and to join Mastodon if you haven’t yet, it’s the best social network I have ever encountered).
Yesterday was the day when something shifted, and I believe that I have reached a milestone. I knew it was coming, but I had to be patient (this whole thing has also been a lesson in patience for me). And I think it’s time to start documenting the whole thing here. I could have started earlier. I almost did, but only text is not always the best way to write a blog.
February 24th, 2023 – morning
Yesterday – Friday – was a rainy morning.
I pulled the car out into the street as usual and shortly after, the crow was there, on the telephone cable (I hadn’t seen it much this week).
It was not exactly at its usual spot, and as it was closer to the neighborhood’s park entrance, I decided to not leave the peanuts where I usually do (on the curb) but right at the park’s entrance instead.
The previous weekend, it was rainy too. And I noticed that they’re actually a bit more courageous on rainy days. I guess it’s partly because they don’t want to get wetter than they already are, and also, as there is less activity, there is less danger. The only things that they’re really afraid of apart from humans are dogs, and to a lesser extent cats. These three animal species don’t really like to be outside in the rain. I don’t think that it’s a coincidence.
Last weekend was actually the moment I realized that they were getting less scared.
I say “they” because while I’ve mostly been interacting with one crow, the park and (most of?) the neighborhood is the territory of a couple of crows.
So, I left the peanuts near the park’s entrance and instead of leaving, I stayed around, in the distance. The crow was still a bit afraid to go get the peanuts with me nearby, but I had an unexpected helper. A pigeon took notice of the peanuts and started approaching to check them out. The crow was not in the mood to share, so it landed and ate the peanuts, despite me being there and… I could film!!!
That alone made my day.
It didn’t stay too long and flew away when my daughter arrived. While it’s getting used to me, it’s not used to my family members yet (they will have to put in some work for this but I’m not sure they want to – although, while she won’t admit it, my daughter is getting more and more interested in the whole thing)
We hopped in the car and went to work & school…
I thought it was going to be all for that day as I rarely see the crows in the evening. However…
February 24th, 2023 – evening
I guess that as days are getting longer, I get back home when it’s still daytime now, so the crows haven’t left to sleep (most crows in the city seem to gather on the hill nearby to go sleep). And indeed, as I parked the car, I heard some caws not too far. I walked to the park to see if there were any crows, and as I was about to return home not seeing any, someone was waiting for me:
And… Well, I filmed most of what happened next.
In conclusion, I think I “made it.” We’re still far from the crows totally trusting me and casually approaching me, but now I know I’m on the right track.
This morning too, when I left the house, both crows were hanging out high in a tree in the park. One of them came down and I gave it a peanut. I tried to stay as close as possible, and it came to get the peanut despite me being closer than yesterday (I’m still staying a bit far). Once again, it flew away when my kids came out. I’ll have to accustom it to them. I also wonder whether crows are just more scared of kids. While adults mostly ignore crows, as I assume that children sometimes chase them. Even if they don’t, children are park dwellers, where they run, shout, and do other similar kid things that are not really compatible with a crow’s idea of well-being and of reassuring behavior.
A bit later, I was near the other park by the sea, and three crows stood on high points nearby. They were definitely watching us. I still can’t figure out if one of them is “my” crow. In the park next to my house, you’ll rarely see other crows. It is definitely this couple’s territory and only theirs. But in the other park, or on the other side of the small river that marks the end of my neighborhood, I often see small groups of three or four crows.
Of course, at the same time, I’m reading and learning about crow behavior. Small groups like this can either be younger and “single” crows or couples with their “young adult” kids from previous years who still spend time with their parents at times. I guess I’ll know sooner or later who the crows “by the sea” are. That is when the ones I’m befriending now won’t be scared anymore and will have no problem approaching me.
In the meantime, stay tuned…
(to be continued)
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