Wednesday, April 27, 2022

The Songbirds are Singing Like They Know the Score

On this Crow & Raven Appreciation Day, did you know that corvids are considered songbirds?  I didn't learn that until last year, but once I heard, it actually made sense since they always seem to be so "chatty."  I just never knew that what they were doing was considered singing.  If you have the luxury of living someplace with any type of garden, yard, or green space, I fully support the idea of you befriending your local corvids.  To me, it always seems when most folks write about them, the topic usually skews toward mythology, or witchcraft, or something spooky & mysterious, but what I've come to love about the crew that frequents my place is how sweet, caring, cheeky, and even humorous they are.  

Ever since the time I bellowed an obnoxiously loud Cah-caw out my front window one hot Summer day when a rather large group of them were squawking in the street and just would not shut up, and the birds did not disperse, but flew toward me collecting along the power lines, the handrail of my front stoop, and along the roof right above my window earning me the nickname: Mother of Crows (it was a GoT Summer), or  Crow-Mommy, I've had this strange mix of crows, ravens, and blue jays (and one random, very large seagull) that like to hang out at my house.  Over the next several years we became friends to the point where if they're hungry, or want a snack now they'll get on the roof, and call down my chimney until I come out and give them what they want.  That sounds way more irritating than it really is, it's actually pretty cute, and once I get outside they play it cool, which always makes me laugh.  Like, give it up guys, we all know what's going on here ... In fact, they're quite a bit like cats that way!  You know how they'll fuss about something, but then when you do the exact thing they were demanding, they act all surprised about it like, "Oh, this is for me?? You shouldn't have!  Stop, okay, okay go on ... Wait, you're embarrassing me with all this attention ... Keep going!"  That's pretty much how my corvids act.  The blue jays are cut from a different cloth, I must admit, but at least I've finally got my Mr. and Mrs. to stop tearing the buds off my rose bushes when they don't get what they want, exactly when they want it.

Even with all of our palling around, and their constant and extremely detailed supervision of my gardening activities I'm still careful to stay a respectful distance from them, I don't want them to get so used to human contact that they end up trusting the wrong people and get hurt, or killed, but I love how comfortable they are in the safety of my back yard especially once I've gone back indoors, and they can just relax and have a little bird-party as long as they like.  And, yes, the rumors are true, once you start befriending them, they will totally bring you presents.  My favorite gift so far being a tiny, plastic, toy machine gun for a child's action figure of some sort.  At first, I wasn't sure if it was an offering, or a threat, but so far no one's attempted to peck my eyes out, so I choose to accept it with gratitude.  My second favorite thing they've ever brought me is one large, intact, entire, and whole potato ... Like, I don't even know where they got it from, or how far they had to carry it, but when I saw it I very nearly almost cried.  How sweet is it that they want to take care of, and feed me in return?  We also appear to subscribe to the same aesthetics, of "Oooh! Shiny!" because most times after I've turned the soil in my garden boxes, I'll come out the next day to a hoard of glittering treasures waiting for me.  Granted, we're not talking precious gems here, it's all garbage: Shiny bits of paper, and bottle caps, and broken glass, but they see value in it.  It's like when a little kid hands you a fist full of weeds they just picked, you put that in a vase and cherish it because to them it's the most beautiful bouquet in the whole wide world, and they chose you to be the recipient.  It's an honor. 

A word of caution, however, I do not recommend starting to feed your local corvids if you're in a suburban neighborhood near a roost, and trust me, if you live near a roost there is no not knowing that you, in fact, live near a roost.  What you don't want to do is start attracting thousands (this is not an exaggeration) of birds to your cul-de-sac, and become a nuisance for your neighborhood like the folks who recently ended up taking each other to court over their avian antics.  Unless, of course, that is something you're into, or you're moving, or hate your HOA president, then by all means, do your worst!  If you'd like to keep things casual with your local birds, you can skip feeding them, and just talk to them instead.  You don't have to have full-blown conversations, you can just exchange short greetings, and pleasantries, of little clucks, or clicks because the chances are, if you're seeing corvids throughout your day, or on your way to school or work, it's extremely likely, since many of them live for 15-20 years, that it's the same exact bird(s) every single day, and if you're already sharing that much of your daily routines with each other, you may as well be pals!